MANILA, April 25 (Philippines Daily Inquirer/ANN): Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio scored presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. for denying the verbal fishing agreement that President Rodrigo Duterte admitted to have forged with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“The government is running like a headless chicken when it comes to the West Philippine Sea (WPS) [issue], ” Carpio told the Inquirer.
“The Palace has conflicting positions on the fishing agreement. Changing positions confuse all our people, supporters and allies. The adversary will exploit such confusion, ” he warned.
Roque on Friday dismissed as “conjecture” Duterte’s own admission that he entered into a “verbal fishing agreement” with Xi in 2016 that opened the Philippine waters to Chinese fishermen.
“There is no truth to the speculation of a purported ‘verbal fishing agreement’ between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping, ” Roque said in a statement.
But the President himself spent several minutes during his 2019 State of the Nation Address talking about the agreement.
Salvador Panelo, the chief legal counsel, even said that “even if it’s verbal, it’s valid and binding as long as there is mutual consent from the two parties.”