Retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio (File photo)
MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday thanked retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio for praising President Rodrigo Duterte’s assertion of the Hague-based arbitral ruling that invalidates China’s vast claims over the South China Sea before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
“Nagpapasalamat po kami kay Justice Carpio. Sa wakas napuri ang Presidente ni Justice Carpio (We thank Justice Carpio. At last, the President was finally praised by Justice Carpio),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over PTV-4.
Carpio is a staunch critic of Duterte’s handling of the territorial dispute between Philippines and China.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario also commended Duterte’s invoking the country’s legal victory against China, but Roque shrugged him as “not a lawyer.”
“Kay Albert del Rosario, hindi kasi abogado (To Albert del Rosario, you’re not a lawyer),” Roque said.
Del Rosario was the country’s top diplomat when the Philippines filed its arbitration case against China’s massive maritime claims. The Permanent Court Arbitration released its verdict in favor of the Philippines in July 2016.
He said the next step for Duterte is to “put into reality the invocation of the arbitral award.”
“Our government should work more earnestly to get the support of more countries so that the arbitral award will be raised next year for the UNGA 2021,” Del Rosario said.
Roque, however, explained that Duterte has always been consistent in his stand that no country can undermine the arbitral award.
“Wala po talaga kasing police na pupuwede mag-enforce ng arbitral award na yan. Yan po ay naririyan na, nakaukit na po sa tadhana yan, nakaukit na po yan sa international law. Wala na po silang magagwa sa posisyon na yan (There is really no police that can enforce the arbitral award. It’s there and it’s set in destiny, it’s set in international law. They can’t do anything about it),” he said.
In his debut at the UNGA, Duterte asserted the UN-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling which invalidated China’s nine-dash line map that covers nearly the entire South China Sea.
Duterte said the arbitral ruling “is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon.”
“We firmly reject attempts to undermine it,” he said. (PNA)