By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

"He has resorted to name-calling. As a former justice, alam niya ang elemento ng estafa. Hindi ito estafa.”

Malacañang had this to say in response to the recent comment of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio likening President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to “retake” the West Philippine Sea from China as “grand estafa.”

"Kung estapador ang Presidente, ano ang tawag sa kanya na siya mismo ang sumulat ng desisyon kaya nawala ang sangkatutak na territorial sea at internal waters natin?" he added during an interview with reporters.

Carpio earlier reminded Duterte that he promised to have a jet ski ride and plant the Philippine flag to assert the country’s territorial rights. However, during his Monday national address, the Chief Executive denied such statement.

"President Duterte cannot now say that he never discussed or mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue when he was campaigning for president. There is a term for that – grand estafa or grand larceny. Making a false promise to get 16 million votes," Carpio said, reacting to Duterte's denial.

Meanwhile, Roque said it was the 2011 Supreme Court Decision which is signed by Carpio that resulted the country to lose some of the islands in the West Philippine Sea.

"He is talking as a politician. We will not stoop down to his level,” Roque said.

It was in July 2016 when the Hague Court of Arbitration favored the Philippines’ case against China’s nine-dash claim sovereignty in the South China Sea.

The decision also concluded that the Spratly Islands, Panganiban Reef, Ayungin Shoal, and the Recto Bank are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

However, China rejected the ruling by saying the territorial issue is “indisputable.”