MANILA - Amid differing views on the controversial $62 million Chico River irrigation loan agreement between the Philippines and China, Supreme Court Associate Antonio Carpio and Palace Spokesman Salvador Panelo were all smiles when they met each other at an event in Iloilo City Thursday.
Panelo sent Malacañang reporters a selfie of him and Carpio during the IBP National Convention at the Marriott Hotel in Iloilo City.
“Exchanged pleasantries. We are fraternity brods in the Sigma Rho in UP Law. He is Junior brod. I was one of the senior brods who initiated him but not physical,” Panelo said.
Carpio also confirmed meeting Panelo, and revealed a little of what they discussed.
"We just happened to meet at breakfast since we're staying in same hotel. He is a fraternity brod, and we engage in the usual small talk, like what he said - how to invade China," he said.
Panelo earlier called Carpio "unpatriotic" for sounding the alarm on an onerous provision in the Chico River irrigation loan agreement, which the latter said would permit China to seize the country’s patrimonial assets, including oil and gas deposits in the Reed Bank, once the Philippines defaults on its payments.
“Siya ang lumalabas na unpatriotic dito...Parang tinuturuan niya pa ang Chinese. Wala namang loopholes, binibigyan niya pa ng loopholes," Panelo told ANC.
Carpio however laughed off Panelo’s comment.
He also addressed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra's statement late Tuesday that the $62-million debt in the Chico River project is a small amount compared to the country's total obligations.
"The total loan from China will be from $12 billion to $24 billion. If all loan agreements will follow the Chico River template, that will be a huge problem," he said.
He suggested that "future loan agreements with China must do away with arbitration under CIETAC rules and with collateralization of our patrimonial assets" insisting that "collaterals are not standard in ODA loans." With a report by Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News