- SC justice blasted president for almost single-handedly giving up PH’s arbitration victory
- He said DFA’s clarification saved country from “self-inflicted colossal disaster”
- Carpio also twitted Duterte for espousing limited options with China, called it a fallacy
MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio blasted President Rodrigo Duterte for almost single-handedly giving up the Philippines’ arbitration victory over China at The Hague; saying his unilateral declaration would have legally bound the country under well-recognized principles of international law.
“I was aghast at the President’s use of the phrase ‘setting aside.’ In law, to set aside ruling means to nullify, void, or abandon the ruling. I had to sound for the alarm for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to immediately clarify the President’s statement,” GMA News quoted him as saying during a forum in Makati city on Wednesday.
According to Carpio, the timely clarification from the DFA saved the country from a “self-inflicted colossal disaster”.
“The DFA issued a clarification that there was no abandonment of the ruling hours before China warmly accepted the President’s statement. This prevented the President’s statement becoming legally binding on the Philippines. We escaped a self-inflicted colossal disaster by the skin of our teeth,” he said.
The justice also blasted Duterte and his administration’s current approach with China; saying they were spreading the fallacy of limited choices in dealing with the latter’s encroachments in the West Philippine Sea.
“The option for the Philippines is not either to talk to China or go to war with China. This is a false option, and shows a dismal lack of understanding of international law and international relations,” he said.
Carpio then said China itself does not want open armed conflict as the same would be an excuse for the United States to get involved.
“China itself does not want war because war will give the US an excuse to intervene in the South China Sea dispute, considering the existing Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty. China’s strategy is to control the South China Sea without firing a single shot,” he said.
“Those who raise the issue of war with China either do not understand the 3-warfare strategy of China, or simply are scaring Filipino people to make them submit to China,” he added, in reference to the strategy of “psychological operations, media manipulation, and legal warfare” as advocated by China’s Central Military Commission.
The justice added that the country is better off pursuing a third option — continuous diplomatic pressure on its giant neighbor.
“Instead, we should exhaust our diplomacy by protesting the threat of war, however unlikely it may be in actuality. We cannot allow others to play with the threat of war when our submitted disputes have already been clarified in the ruling,” he said.
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