Palace on Carpio: He served his country well
Malacanang on Sunday hailed recently retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, saying he “served his country well.”
This was despite Carpio's being critical to some of the Duterte administration's policies, including on its stance on the territorial dispute with China.
“We wish him well on the next chapter of his life. He served his country well. He became a good and sensible justice so we commend him for that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview by Radyo Inquirer.
Carpio formally left the government service on Saturday, October 26, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 years old.
“We may not agree on his position on the West Philippine Sea but then it’s a free country,” Panelo said.
He said Carpio has the right to give his opinion and criticize the government’s stance on the matter.
Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, said while Carpio's position was contrary to that of the administration, still it "is based on his love for the country."
Despite his retirement, Carpio has vowed to continue on defending the Philippine territory.
“That is just right. If you are a person with principle you should continue your situation in life. He should continue it… until he acquires enlightenment,” said Panelo.
Asked if Carpio could be the President’s consultant on the issue pertaining the country's territorial waters, Panelo said that would be Duterte’s call.
Carpio helped in getting a favorable ruling for the Philippines when it filed a petition before the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal seeking to invalidate China's historic and sovereign claim in almost the entire South China Sea, including the areas within the Philippine exclusive economic zone. The Hague-based arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016.
The former magistrate has been critical about China's continuous aggression in the disputed waters.
Carpio served in the Supreme Court for 18 years. According to some of his former colleagues and other people, he was the Chief Justice that the country never had. Ella Dionisio/DMS