It’s time to speak up: that’s the challenge of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to President Rodrigo Duterte when it comes to China’s illegal activity in the West Philippine Sea.
According to Carpio, China is clearly taking advantage of the pandemic to strengthen its presence in the area.
They are also said to be in a hurry to finish their structures in the West Philippine Sea under the current administration because they know that Duterte will do nothing about it.
Coincidentally, according to Carpio, it is possible to lose 80 percent of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which is even larger than the total land area of the Philippines, if the government does not defend the territory.
“The spokesperson of President Duterte said, this can be settled among friends, downplaying this whole incident that it can be settled. But this is a very important national issue, our sovereign rights are involved. The President must speak, stand up himself. If he will not talk, China will not listen. China will only listen to the President and if the President is silent, China will continue,” said Carpio.
But according to Malacañang, let the President act privately when it comes to the issue of China and the West Philippine Sea.
Carpio dares Duterte to speak up before China invades PH’s EEZ
He said the people no longer need to be informed.
“Ang larangan ng diplomasya, isang exception to freedom of information. Kung ano man ang ginagawa ng Presidente, hayaan na nating gawin niya iyon sa isang pribadong pamaraan dahil hindi naman po dapat inaanunsiyo sa publiko kung ano ‘yung mga diplomatic initiatives at hakbang na ginagawa ng Pangulo,” said Palace spokesperson Harry Roque.
But when asked when the Palace expects the Chinese maritime militia’s ships to leave the West Philippine Sea, it could not be answered.
“Hindi ko po masasabi ‘yan pero inaasahan po natin na ‘yung malapit na pagkakaibigan natin ang magiging dahilan kung bakit sila ay aalis nang mas maaga kaysa mas matagal,” said Roque.
3 Philippine ships arrived at Julian Felipe reef on April 13 amid the continued presence of Chinese vessels there.