MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte did not commit a “grand estafa” and made no fool of anyone when he said he would plant the Philippine flag in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea during the 2016 presidential campaign, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this in response to retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who said Duterte was “admitting that he was fooling the Filipino people big time” with his false campaign promise.
“Hindi po yun panggogoyo. Dahil malinaw po ang salitang ginamit ni Presidente, hindi po niya sinabi na yung nawalang teritoryo ng nakalipas na administrasyon maibabalik niya. Ang pinangako niya, wala nang mawawalang teritoryo sa Pilipinas na siya namang nangyayari ngayon,” Roque said in an interview with reporters.
(That’s not making a fool of anyone. What the President said was clear, he did not say he will retake the territory lost during the previous administration. What he promised was that no more territory in the Philippines will be lost which is happening now.)
READ: Palace insists no Duterte promise to retake West Philippine Sea
Roque lamented how Carpio is now talking like a “politician” who has resorted to name-calling without answering the issues thrown at him.
“Nalulungkot ako na bagamat na hindi sumasagot si retired Justice Carpio doon sa ating sinasabi na kabahagi siya doon sa namigay ng karagatan, e he has resorted to name-calling. As a former justice, alam naman niya ang elemento ng estafa at alam niya hindi ito estafa,” Roque said.
(It’s sad that while retired Justice Carpio is not answering what we’re saying that he’s part of those who gave up our waters, he has resorted to name-calling. As a former justice, he knows the elements of estafa and he knows this is not estafa.)
“He’s now talking as a politician at nakakalungkot na sa isang usapin ng ating teritoryo, e imbis na adddressin ang issue e he has resorted to name-calling. Kung estapador po ang Presidente, anong tawag sa kanya? We will not stoop down to his level,” he added.
(He’s now talking like a politician and it’s sad how in this issue of territory, he has resorted to name-calling instead of addressing the issue. If the President committed estafa, what do we call him? We will not stoop down to his level.)
In a previous pre-recorded speech, Duterte asked Carpio and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario: “If you’re bright, why did we lose the West Philippine Sea?”
Carpio and Del Rosario, in response, pointed out that the previous administration under then President Benigno Aquino III filed and won a case against China at the international arbitral tribunal which was “shelved” when Duterte assumed office.
READ: Carpio, Del Rosario respond to latest lashing from Duterte
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