Philippine president sees Xi Jinping as 'personal protector', says critic Carpio

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace on November 20, 2018. (RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines, May 10 (The Inquirer/ANN) — President Rodrigo Duterte “honestly believes” that China is in possession of the West Philippine Sea and sees Chinese President Xi Jinping as his “personal protector” against the military, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Monday.

Carpio made the remark when he was asked about Duterte’s motivation behind his statements regarding the West Philippine Sea, such as calling The Hague ruling, which favored the Philippines over China in the maritime dispute, “just a scrap of paper to be thrown away in a wastebasket.

“I think he just—he honestly believes that China is in possession [of the West Philippine Sea], that that’s the only thing I can conclude, because he has been saying that repeatedly, at least five times, ” Carpio said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

“He even said that before an international summit in Singapore, the Asean-Indian Summit. And when you say that before an international conference, that’s binding on us, ” he added.

Carpio likewise said that Duterte sees Xi as his “personal protector” should the military stage a coup d’etat against him.

“The President has always said that if there is a mutiny or coup against me, President Xi Jinping will protect me, ” Carpio said.

“I think that is what’s behind his mind that President Xi Jinping is his personal protector against his own military if there is a coup d’etat, so he will side, whenever possible, with China against the Philippine interest and we see that every day, ” he added.

In 2018, Duterte was reported as saying: “The assurances of Xi Jinping were very encouraging...’We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs.”

Duterte and Carpio have been engaged in a word war over the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

At one point, Duterte even challenged Carpio to a debate.

When Carpio, however, accepted the challenge, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he will instead represent Duterte in the debate.

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