Duterte admin must weigh Carpio’s proposals on West PHL Sea dispute — Sen. Cayetano

BANGKOK, Thailand — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano assured that President Rodrigo Duterte has no plans of giving up Philippine’s territory.

This has been the senator’s response to Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s pronouncement that the President should never make statements that seem to hint that the Philippines is surrendering its sovereignty over its rightful territories in the West Philippine Sea.

Sen. Cayetano said, “Let me just assure Justice Carpio and all Filipinos watching over the West Philippine issue that, the President is doing everything he can and he will not give up even a single square inch.”

The senator said he recognizes the contribution of Carpio in defending the rights of the country over its territory in the West Philippine Sea.

However, he also noted that the strategies or option recommended by the Supreme Court justice, such as the filing of a diplomatic protest against China; sending of navy patrols to Scarborough shoal; asking the United States to help declare the area as territory of the Philippines; and accepting US’ offer of a joint naval patrol in South China Sea, may not be appropriate for the current situation and administration anymore.

“We need Justice Carpio to guide, to ask hard questions but if you look at the five steps that he wants, some of them are purely legal, some are purely diplomatic, but some are a matter of strategy and geopolitics that the administration has to weigh at this period in time,” said Cayetano.

“What could have been valid during the last 6 years… iba yung first five, iba yung last two minutes, (the first five is different; the last two minutes are different).”

Meanwhile, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to determine the action it will take on the reported plan of China to build structures on one of the disputed territories in the South China Sea, the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal.

Manalo said no further action will be taken pending China’s response to the Philippine government’s request for a clarification on the matter.

“Justice Carpio has been very involved in this issue. I think he is very knowledgeable, and he has proposed certain options, but those options would only swing in under certain conditions as of now. That’s why it’s really very difficult to comment on them and all we can really do is to wait for China’s clarifications on the reported plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cayetano commented on rumors that he will be the next DFA secretary and explained his reasons for talking about the Philippines’ foreign affairs.
The senator said, his being in the Legislative branch allows him more freedom to talk than officials under the Executive branch.

He stressed that his talking has nothing to do with him being the next DFA secretary.

“When it comes sa mga press con, mas nakakapagsalita talaga yung outside the DFA because sa DFA each and every word na sabihin niya, ini-iscrutinize ng lahat diplomats around the world. So kahit sino, kahit ako or ibang mga tao ang malagay sa DFA, limited din talaga ang pwedeng sabihin (When it comes to press cons, those outside the DFA can talk more because when you’re with DFA, every word is scrutinized by diplomats around the world. So anybody, even me, once assigned to the DFA will be limited on what they are allowed to say),” explained Cayetano.
Currently, Cayetano is the chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

He also said he is preparing for whatever lies ahead, adding that he’s leaving the decision to the President on whether or not to appoint him as the next DFA secretary. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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