MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte sides with China because he thinks of Chinese President Xi Jinping as his personal protector, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Monday.
Asked what he makes of Duterte's recent statements on the West Philippine Sea which run contrast to the strong stance taken by at least 2 of his Cabinet secretaries, Carpio cited a previous statement by the President, that the Chinese leader will "protect" him if there's a mutiny or a coup d'etat.
"I think that is what’s behind his mind, that President Xi Jinping is his personal protector against his own military if there is a coup d’etat, so he will side, whenever possible, with China against the Philippine interest and we see that every day," Carpio told ANC's Headstart.
Duterte in 2018 said he was assured by Xi that he would be protected against ouster moves, quoting him as saying, "We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs."
The statement came in the early years of blooming ties between Manila and Beijing during the Duterte administration after being frozen under the previous leadership, which initiated legal action against China.
Carpio said he thinks Duterte "honestly believes" that China is in possession of the West Philippine Sea, that's why he has mentioned this repeatedly and even before an international summit.
"When you say that before an international conference, that’s binding on us," he said.
He said while this could be considered "betrayal of public trust, betrayal of national interest," impeachment is a "numbers game" and Duterte currently has control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
"It will never prosper. That’s a problem because there is a failure in the checking mechanism. Congress should check the President, but Congress is not doing its job," he said.
PALACE REJECTS CARPIO 'LIES'
Carpio is just "saying things for attention," said the President's spokesman Harry Roque.
He said Duterte could not have betrayed national interest because the Philippines did not lose territory to China his administration.
Roque dared Carpio to "file the suit" against Duterte if he really violated the constitution.
Duterte's spokesman also rejected comments of Xi as a "protector" from mutiny.
"Kasinungalingan na naman 'yang sinasabi n’ya ," Roque said.
(What he is saying is a lie.)
"Huwag po nating linlangin ang taong bayan," he added.
(Let us not deceive the public.)