MANILA—Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Saturday told fresh graduates to protect their personal integrity in order to defend the country's territories.
Speaking at the University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Carpio defined integrity as being "consistently honest and truthful in your actions regardless of the consequences, even if it means self-sacrifice on your part."
"This means doing an act because it is the right thing to do, even if you are alone against many. This means firmly standing by your principles, though the heavens may fall," he said.
"To protect our territorial integrity requires doing what is right in service to the Filipino people regardless of the consequences. To protect our territorial integrity requires personal integrity."
Carpio warned the youth on the consequences of losing personal integrity.
"If you lose your personal integrity, many doors will close on you. Your friends will be wary of you, your business associates will not trust you, and the public will be skeptical with whatever you say or do. There is a heavy price to pay for losing your personal integrity," he said.
"That is why you should always protect your personal integrity, and safeguard it like you are safeguarding your very own life. Your personal integrity is your face to the world, it is how the world sees you. Surely, you do not want to present a face that drives people away from you."
Carpio then urged the graduates to build on his generation's foundation — the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing's sweeping claims in the disputed South China Sea — in protecting the territorial integrity of West Philippine Sea.
"Our territorial integrity is just like our personal integrity. We must maintain, protect and defend both with all the power at out command because they are priceless," he said.
"Upholding your personal integrity and our territorial integrity is faithfully adhering to our alma mater’s motto: Honor and Excellence, in everything we do."
In the same speech, Carpio countered President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that the 1987 constitutional provision for the protection of marine resources in the country's waters was "thoughtless and senseless."