SUPREME Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio yesterday chose not to answer the fresh tirades President Duterte spewed against him after he cautioned the Duterte administration from allowing Chinese fishermen to fish at Recto Bank and in other parts of the West Philippine Sea.
The other day President Duterte called Carpio “buang” (crazy) and stupid after the senior magistrate branded as unconstitutional the Chief Executive’s decision to allow Chinese fishermen to fish in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which Carpio said is within the territory of the Philippines.
“Napaka-istupido mo. That is why hanggang diyan ka lang talaga,” the President said of Carpio.
But Carpio simply shrugged off Duterte’s rants.
“Those personal attacks are not worth commenting,” Carpio said.
Carpio has been critical of the administration’s policy on the territorial conflict with China, and has actively pushed for filing of more protests over Beijing’s incursion in the contested areas.
Meanwhile, Carpio welcomed the statement made by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo yesterday that the President was misinterpreted by the media and that the government would never relinquish sovereign rights over its EEZs.
“I welcome the clarification of Sec. Panelo that the President never meant to allow the Chinese to fish with Philippine EEZ,” he commented.
In a statement, Panelo explained that when Duterte made the remark about Chinese fishermen trawling in the Philippines’ EEZ, the latter meant that the government of China will not permit their fishermen from encroaching because Manila and Beijing are friends.
“After watching the President’s interview and reading its transcript, I have evaluated that it appears that what the President meant was China would not allow their nationals from fishing in our EEZ since they treat us as their friends, knowing that permitting their fishermen to fish in our EEZ would only result in an unwanted hostility leading to an armed confrontation,” Panelo said.