Esperon to Carpio: Leave national security matters to defense experts

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2020 04:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 28 2020 06:35 PM

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. File

MANILA - Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio should let defense experts handle security matters, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Monday after the retired magistrate called for joint patrols in disputed areas in the South China Sea.

Carpio on Monday suggested joint patrols by claimant countries Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines in their exclusive economic zones in the disputed waters to send a message of unity that China “cannot just pick on us one by one.”

This after recent incidents involving China in the waters, including pointing a radar gun at a Philippine Navy vessel.

"Kung ang iniisip ni Justice Carpio ay pakikipag-giyera eh iwanan na lang niya iyan sa defense [department] at kinikilala natin siya sa larangan ng hustisya, eh huwag na siyang masyadong pumapel sa pakikipag-giyera," Esperon said.

(If Justice Carpio is thinking of going to war then he should leave that to the defense [department] since we know him in the field of justice, he shouldn't concern himself with going to war.)

Esperon added that the Philippines should use its resources wisely and study its moves in the disputed waters carefully.

"Huwag tayong pumasok sa alanganin," Esperon said.

(Let's not put ourselves in an awkward situation.)

Malacañang, meanwhile, welcomed the suggestion of Carpio, for long an advocate of the country's sovereign rights in the waters, but noted that it does not agree with the personal opinions of the former magistrate on China.

"Although we do not agree po with the personal opinions of Justice Carpio on what China is doing, but the suggestion on joint patrols is well-taken," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

The Philippines earlier this month filed diplomatic protests against China for "violations of international law and Philippine sovereignty."