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Retract WPS remarks? Duterte comments should be put in context — Palace

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: PCOO

Malacañang dismissed the calls for retracting the remarks made by President Rodrigo Duterte over the legal Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea, saying such statements should be put in context.

This was after former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio initiated an online campaign calling Duterte to retract his statement, and a “fraternal statement” issued by the group of San Beda graduates asking the same.

"Ilagay natin lahat sa konteksto, perhaps, sa lenggwahe ng Presidente. ‘Yung 'piece of paper' under international law, walang established enforcement mechanism," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in his Monday media presser.

Roque furthered that Duterte’s statements only proving that he is not forsaking Filipinos.

"Bagamat isasantabi niya ang hindi mapagkasunduan at isusulong ang puwede pagkasunduan, hindi nabago ang posisyon ng Presidente na itataguyod niya ang soberanya, pangangalagaan niya ang teritoryo ng bansa," Roque said.

The Palace official’s statement came after Duterte drew fierce backlash for likening the 2016 arbitral victory by the Philippines as a “piece of paper that can be thrown away.”

"Sa totoong buhay, 'yang papel, wala 'yan... Sa usapang bugoy, sabihin ko sa'yo, ibigay mo sa akin, sabihin ko sa'yo p—ng ina papel lang 'yan. Itatapon ko 'yan sa waste basket," Duterte said in his pre-recorded briefing last May 5.

After receiving criticisms, the President later said the country’s naval assets will “not move an inch backward” in the contested waters even at “the cost of his life.”

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 ruled 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.”


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