Justice Tony Carpio, hero


These past few months, in more than one occasion, President Duterte has been quoted as criticizing Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for “just talking” and not doing anything about the South China/West Philippine Sea dispute. What a strange thing to say about the man who has in fact done the most about the issue, to whom the country owes so much for defending its territory and constitution. Although I have sometimes disagreed with him, I can say with absolute certainty—Justice Tony is a hero, a defender of the country’s territory and of our Constitution.

Definitely, on the South China/West Philippine Sea dispute, few can equal the passion and dedication of Justice Carpio. In particular, the most senior Justice of our Supreme Court has used his brilliance, encyclopedic knowledge of the law, his mastery of history, and formidable reputation to propagate the legal, historical, political, and moral arguments of the Philippines through his speeches and lectures delivered in various fora, both in the Philippines and abroad. Thankfully, all these speeches and lectures are now compiled in an e-book The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea that is available for free in the internet.

The e-book is a collation of 140 lectures and speeches delivered in a span of five years from October 2011 to March 2017. They recapitulate and emphasize the compelling moral and legal strength of the Philippine claim and the illegality of the incursions undertaken by Beijing in territories which by legal and historical right indisputably belong to the Philippines.

To honor Justice Carpio, at this time when he is being unfairly attacked (including by ignorant trolls who have no idea who the man is) and more importantly to celebrate our sovereignty as we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, I am serializing in a four-to-five-part series the salient parts of Justice Carpio’s book.