Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio considers President Rodrigo Duterte’s current remarks regarding the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as an ‘impeachable offense’ that’s not only a betrayal of national interest but also of public trust.
Carpio aired the statements during an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart when asked about Duterte’s recent pronouncements regarding the disputed territory and if it can be used against the president as grounds for impeachment.
“Yes, I agree completely. It is a betrayal of public trust, betrayal of national interest,” he said.
Even so, Carpio pointed out that an impeachment case against Duterte is not likely to prosper. According to him, the success of a potential case lies on ‘numbers,’ which the administration has control over.
“He has the majority, it will never prosper. So, that’s a problem because there is a failure in the checking mechanism. Congress should check the President but Congress isn’t doing its job,” Carpio stressed.
Carpio also noted that Duterte’s stance on the 2016 Hague Ruling – a ruling that invalidates China’s claims over the South China Sea – could be very dangerous for the country’s interests.
“The head of state, the President, or even the foreign minister can bind the country with his pronouncements and if these pronouncements are adverse, admissions against interest, this will bind the country if accepted by the other party. And that’s why it’s very dangerous,” he explained.
Duterte has previously stated that the 2016 Hague Ruling – won by the Philippines – is akin to scrap paper meant to be thrown in the wastebasket.
“Pinursue ko, walang nangyari. Actually, sa usapang bugoy, sabihin ko sa ‘yo, ‘Bigay mo sakin? Putangina papel lang ‘yan. Itatapon ko ‘yan sa waste basket,” the country’s top-most executive said during a national address on May 5.
Carpio has urged the public to request Duterte to retract all of his statements, especially those that claim China is in possession of the WPS.
“Legally, China is not in possession. If he says that, what happens to our fishermen, what happens to the service contractors? They will not get the gas,” he shared.
In 2017, an impeachment case was also filed against Duterte concerning the West Philippine Sea, Panatag Shoal, and the Benham Rise. However, it failed to move forward.
You can watch former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s full interview below.