When his Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte challenged retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio to a debate on the issue of the possession, ownership and sovereign rights over the islands of Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea, the radio/tv and other print and broadcast media reports were received with anxiety and anticipation by the entire Filipino nation. It was felt by our countrymen that they would finally know the real truth by a mature discussion of issues by the President of the Republic and the legal stalwart of the Supreme Court. I for one, felt this way. In fact, the President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has expressed willingness to host the debate.
To our consternation however, the challenger DU3 backed out claiming he might be constrained to reveal certain details of the understanding with President Xi Jinping which are not necessarily for public consumption. He then suggested that the debate should instead be between Justice Carpio and his spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. Justice Carpio readily declined the suggestion. Later events however, showed that Justice Carpio was willing to engage in a debate with any administration official on the sole issue of sovereign rights, ownership and possession over the WPS islands, as he has all the documents to prove his point.
As of this writing however, the challenge remains unaccepted. It may be recalled that during DU3’s presidential campaign, he boasted of hopping on a jet ski to the islands and hoisting the Philippine Flag thereon. This time however, he claims that it was only a joke. This writer poses this question, to wit: Does Duterte consider the phrase in our National Anthem which goes: “AMING LIGAYA NA PAG MAY MANG-AAPI, ANG MAMATAY NG DAHIL SAIYO” a big joke as well? When the President jokes about a serious matter of national concern, is he not making a joke of the sacred office that he holds?
Kudos to Bert de los Mártires for his program Alkalde Sa Kusina which does not only cater to a sumptuous menu but old time favorite songs which evokes beautiful memories of the lingering past. Keep on Kuya Bert.
QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:
“THERE IS NO CAUSE MORE WORTHY THAN THE CAUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS. THEY ARE WHAT MAKES US HUMAN.”
SENATOR JOSE DIOKNO
”LET US NOT BECOME WEARY IN DOING GOOD, FOR AT THE PROPER TIME WE WILL REAP A HARVEST IF WE DO NOT GIVE UP.”