Duterte did not deceive Filipinos over West PH Sea, says Roque

Published May 5, 2021, 4:21 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang hit back at former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio for allegedly resorting to “name-calling” after accusing President Duterte of committing “grand estafa” over the West Philippine Sea issue.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang)

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the President did not deceive the nation since he never promised to take back the territory that was lost during the past administration during the 2016 campaign.

“Hindi po ‘yun panggogoyo. Malinaw ang ginamit na salita ng Presidente. Hindi po niya sinabi na ‘yung nawalang teritoryo ng nakalipas na administrasyon maibabalik niya. Ang pinangako niya wala nang mawawalang teritoryo sa Pilipinas na siya naman pong nangyayari ngayon (There is no deception. The President’s statement was clear. He did not say he will retake territory lost during the past administration. What he promised was no more territory in the Philippines will be lost, which is happening now),” Roque said in a media interview.

The President, in a televised address Monday, said he did not promise to “retake” the West Philippine Sea when he ran for campaign in the 2016 polls. He also denied making a campaign promise to “pressure” China over the territorial dispute.

Carpio, however, slammed Duterte for supposedly committing “grand estafa” for denying that he made campaign promises about the West Philippine Sea. The former magistrate pointed out that Duterte had once promised in a president debate to ride a jet ski and plant a Philippine flag in a disputed island if he won the presidency.

The Palace previously downplayed Duterte’s jet ski statement as mere hyperbole. Since he assumed office in 2016, Duterte has forged warmer ties with China and address the territorial spat through peaceful and rules-based means. He has refused to wage war with China despite its recent incursions into local waters, recognizing Beijing as a good friend and benefactor. There was also no need for rude behavior towards China despite the territorial spat, he added.

Roque, in his remarks Wednesday, criticized Carpio for talking like a politician after alleging the President’s supposed criminal offense.

“As a former justice, alam naman niya ang elemento ng estafa at alam niya na hindi ito estafa (he knows the element of estafa and he knows it is not estafa),” he said.

“He’s now talking as a politician at nakakalungkot na sa isang usapin na napakaseryoso ng ating teritoryo, imbes na i-address-in ang mga isyu, he has resorted to name calling (and it is sad that in this serious issue about our territory, he has resorted to name-calling instead of addressing the issues),” he added.

Roque also reminded Carpio about his alleged fault when he wrote a court decision that led to the loss of the Philippine territory. He was referring to a 2011 Supreme Court decision that junked a petition against the alleged illegality of the 2009 baselines law, that supposedly reduced the country’s sea territory.

“Kung estafador ang presidente, ano ang tawag sa kanya? na siya mismo ang sumulat ng desisyon kung saan nawala ang sangkatutak na territorial sea natin at internal waters (If the President committed estafa, what do we call him? He wrote the decision where we lost much of our territorial sea and internal waters) but we will not stoop down to his level,” he added.