By Prince Golez
Malacañang asked retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to stop issuing “illegal, impractical, and irresponsible” statements on the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
In a statement on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Carpio and Del Rosario should allow President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue his “careful, calibrated, and calculated” foreign policy on the disputed waterway.
“They should leave international relations to the one who has the foresight, information, and constitutional mandate to make sound foreign policy decisions,” said Roque.
The Palace official said Duterte has desired for peaceful settlements of the issue since several nations have overlapping claims to the same area.
“That is why the President’s policy has been careful, calculated, calibrated. He has never renounced our claims and entitlements, and in fact he and his administration have repeatedly and consistently asserted them in bilateral talks with China and in multilateral fora like the United Nations,” according to him.
“However, he knows that, as a responsible member of the world community, the Philippines must pursue its claims by legal and diplomatic means. We must lay the basis for negotiation, by building a relationship of mutual trust and confidence, and without engaging in name-calling and brinkmanship,” he added.
Roque said the “many fiery statements” and “outbursts” of Carpio and Del Rosario were not helpful to the country.
“They demand that the President adopt hardline all or nothing policies. However, history shows that countries who demand all or nothing policies often get nothing at all, or even end up provoking war,” the secretary said.
“This is exactly what the President is avoiding. Because all or nothing policies are not only inconsistent with international law and international reality—they are dangerous and they will not work,” he also said.