Duterte backs out of West PH Sea debate; tells Carpio he’s not afraid

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After withdrawing from the West Philippine Sea discussion that he initiated, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he is not afraid of debating retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

“Hindi ako takot sa iyo. Ang problema, hindi ko naalala na hindi ikaw ang presidente,” Duterte said during his televised address on Monday.

Duterte further explained that he did not push through with the debate against Carpio as his words might force future government actions in resolving issues in the West Philippine Sea.

It was on a May 5 national address that Duterte challenged Carpio to a debate with him on issues related to the country’s claim over West Philippine Sea. This dare was immediately accepted by the retired justice, with the Philippine Bar Association later offering to host the debate.

However on May 7, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced he was tasked instead by the president to face Carpio. The spokesman said Duterte was advised by members of his Cabinet not to push through with the debate.