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Carpio is correct: I’ll be careful not to give away Scarborough to China — Duterte

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President Rodrigo Duterte agrees with Associate Justic Antonio Carpio: he can be impeached if he abandons the country’s claim to Scarborough Shoal and any island inside the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

‎”He (Carpio) is correct. I would be impeached; it’s an impeachable offense. I do not fight with that statement. It’s all correct, it’s all legal and so I agree with him. I said we cannot barter which is not ours, it belongs to the Filipino people.

I cannot be the sole authorized agent for that is not allowed under the Constitution. Tama siya‎,” said Duterte in a departure speech from Davao City airport Sunday afternoon.

Duterte had hinted in the past week that he would not insist on the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea which was upheld by a United Nations arbitral body in order not to antagonize China. Duterte called the Philippine EEZ, which includes Scarborough Shoal, as a mere “fishpond” which the Philippines could not protect if it went into a war with China.

This prompted Carpio to issue a warning that Duterte would violate the Constitution if he allowed China to set foot on Scarborough and he would be impeached.

But as he embarked on his trip to meet China’s top officials – China President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiangn and National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang – Duterte has apparently backtracked on letting go off the country’s EEZ.

“We will stick towards our claim. We do not bargain anything though. We continue to insist that it’s ours and that the Tribunal, the international decision will be taken up and, but there will be no hard impositions,” said Duterte.

“We will talk and we will, maybe paraphrase everything in the judgment and set the limits of our territories, the special economic zones. It will be– no bargaining there. It is ours and many of you are just—one thing to ask the question. That is it. No bargaining of our territories whether within the turf or to the 200, it will remain a special concern and I will be very careful not to bargain anything for after all I cannot give what is not mine and which I am not empowered to do by any sketch of imagination‎,” said Duterte.

Duterte will go to Brunei before embarking on a three-day visit to China from October 18 to 21.