Retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, the Philippine champion on the country’s fight for its territorial rights in the South China Sea with China, is one who doesn’t pull punches nor doesn’t mind calling a spade a spade when he sees one.
Like the (in) famous Juan in our time, when a thing quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, he has no qualms whatsover in calling it like it is.
So, his latest slight breach on politesse shouldn’t be surprising. He called the latest government’s heart-breaking insouciance vis-a-vis China or its agents “dumb”.
The issue? The government has allowed a 40-percent owned Chinese telco, DITO, to install its cell sites inside Philippine military camps.
Carpio is wary and worried about the deal. More to the point, he said this is fraught and dicey because it would allow possible Chinese espionage right in the country’s military facilities.
It’s beyond mere demonstration of official naivette. It can be likened to a person inviting in his bedroom a bully of a neighbor caught flagrante delicto in thievery in his very own backyard.
And it’s not Carpio alone crying in the wilderness. A few top officials in the military and lawmakers have similarly expressed their objection to the move for security reason. Maybe more, but are not brave enough to voice their apprehensions for fear of reprisal.
Their collective tune is the exact same flat no-way.
Maybe our leaders behind this latest faux pas can take a cue from a dialogue in the movie “Dumb and Dumber”.
Lloyd Christmas: What are the chances a guy like you and a girl like me ending up together?
Mary Swanson: Not good.
Lloyd: Not good like one in a hundred.
Mary: I’d say more like one in a million
Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s chance?
For China, whether it’s one in hundred or one in a million, it doesn’t matter. They will always like their chance. Everybody knows they love to play the long game. In the long run, as the saying goes, China will win. You have more than 2,000 years of history to back up their bona fides.
If you ask National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, his answer would be ‘fat chance’, with emphasis on the “fat”.
On another issue, Carpio described as “no-brainer” Malacanang’s thumbs down of a recommendation made no less by the country’s top diplomat to blacklist Chinese companies working on Philippine projects which are involved in reclamation works in the South China Sea.
Carpio has explained why it’s such a “bobo” of an act. China is destroying atoll reefs in the South China Sea, reconfiguring islands that belong to the Philippines and is building military facilities in those islands with help from these Chinese contractors.
Obviously, they’re doubling down on our government’s official subservience or cowardice.
With the President no less publicly confessing his lack of moral courage to stop China from doing its flagrant violation in the South China Sea, Xi Ping must be enjoying what Sun Tzu had advised: it’s better to win without fighting.
The apparent consuelo de bobo is the President’s request to China that the Philippines be included in its priority list of recipients for an anti-COVID 19 vaccine. Hardly a fair exchange considering that there’s no such thing as free lunch even in China. And what we may potentially lose in return are territories and resources infinitely bigger and richer.
As if these troubles were not enough, the Philippines is currently engaged in a note verbale “war” with Malaysia on both countries’ territorial claim over Sabah.
Carpio has a nagging suspicion as to who’s cheering on the sideline. It’s a no-brainer, too.