Palace dismisses Carpio’s protest call vs Beijing as ‘premature’
Malacañang described as “premature” the remarks of acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, urging the Philippine government to protest Beijing’s landing of military planes on Panganiban Reef.
“I don’t think he should preempt any decision of the Seceretary of Foreign Affairs,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
Carpio said on Sunday that Manila should protest the latest sightings of Chinese military planes on Panganiban Reef, adding that silence of the government may be taken as implied consent.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had earlier said the government was taking “diplomatic action” against China after the Inquirer published last week surveillance photos showing two Chinese military planes on Panganiban Reef.
The United Nations (UN) ruled on July 2016 that the Philippines has sovereign rights over Panganiban Reef (internationally known as Mischief Reef), which is part of Manila’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea.
Roque said the public should “await the final word from Secretary Cayetano.”
“The Secretary of Foreign Affairs has said they are looking at all diplomatic responses to these latest reports. So a protest should not be precluded,” he said.
“So I think the statement of Justice Carpio is premature,” he added.
Since assuming office in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen to seek dialogue with China rather than press Beijing over the UN ruling, which invalidates China’s expansive claims in the disputed waters. /kga
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