By Deighton Acuin


"Wishful thinking po ‘yan.”

Malacañang had this to say on the recent call made by Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that President Rodrigo Duterte should step down if his claims on the West Philippine Sea dispute are proven false.

"Bilang pinuno ng bagong partido, siyempre gusto ni Justice Carpio na magresign ang Presidente dahil gusto niyang iyong kakampi niya ang makaupo para sa eleksyon e may tsansa ang mga kandidato n'ya, kundi siya mismo," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online Palace briefing.

It was on Wednesday when Duterte challenged Carpio to have a debate on the issue, to ask if the former magistrate was involved in the withdrawal of Philippine vessels patrolling along the Scarborough Shoal.

The next day, Carpio accepted the challenge and called for his “immediate resignation” once the latter’s claim is proven false, adding "was never involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea during the 2012 Scarborough standoff." 

However, Duterte backed off from his recent challenge and tapped Roque on behalf.

In response, Roque said the President is not claiming that Carpio is the official involved in the incident, adding Duterte linked former Foreign Affairs Chief Albert Del Rosario to the supposed vessel retreat.

"Ang punto po ng Presidente, 'wag n'yong sasabihin na siya ang namimigay ng teritoryo dahil hindi po 'yan nangyari sa kaniyang administrasyon. Tapos na ang boxing," Roque said. 

"Sa halos 5 taon na administrasyong Duterte, may nawala bang isla ang Pilipinas? Ang sagot: wala," he added.