By Junex Doronio
May 20, 2021
Former SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (BusinessMirror photo courtesy)
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — Must be a case of memory gap of the country’s most senior politician that former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has contradicted his own statement he made decades ago about Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty’s (MDT) applicability in conflicts that may arise in the South China Sea.
This was revealed by retired Supreme Court Association Justice Antonio Carpio who said Enrile in 1992 declared that former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance Jr.’ s memo in 1979 meant that the MDT may be applied to the South China Sea, where the Philippines exclusive economic zone lies.
“Enrile said the other day that the MDT, which covers the Pacific theater, does not apply to the South China Sea. This contradicts his statement in 1992, published in Manila Bulletin, explaining that the 1979 Memo of Sec. Cyrus Vance means the MDT applies to the South China Sea,” Carpio said.
On Monday, the 97-year-old Enrile appeared to be a “special guest” of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s weekly late nighttime briefing.
Enrile also told Duterte not to rely on the United States to give arms support to the Philippines, even in its current maritime dispute with China.
The nonagenarian politician was apparently oblivious to the statement of the United States last April 7 that sternly warned China against what the Philippines see as increasingly aggressive moves in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
“An armed attack against the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” State Department spokesman Ned Price stressed.
It can be recalled that Enrile, the martial law administrator of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, said in his book that the ambush on his convoy on the night of Sept. 22, 1972, was not scripted.
This was a turnaround from what Enrile bared during a historic press conference on Feb. 23, 1986, when he and then Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos staged a coup d’etat against Marcos which failed but later developed into a “people power revolution” that ended the 20-year regime. (AI/MTVN)