SUPREME Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio yesterday inhibited from deliberations on a writ of kalikasan petition calling for the Duterte administration to protect and preserve disputed shoals in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) where Chinese fishermen have been reported harvesting marine resources.
“There is no compulsory ground to inhibit, but I voluntarily inhibited for the peace of mind of the SolGen (solicitor general),” Carpio said.
As of this writing, Carpio was nowhere to be found among magistrates hearing oral arguments on a petition filed by fishermen from Palawan and Zambales seeking to compel the government to protect, preserve and rehabilitate the environment in Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Mischief Reef or Panganiban Reef.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida welcomed Carpio’s decision to inhibit.
“We thank him for inhibiting for (the) reason that he knows already all the facts of the case because he’s part of the West Philippine Sea Arbitration,” Calida said.
Recently, Calida sought Carpio’s inhibition by citing the magistrate’s supposed personal bias and manifest partiality, as evidenced by his active participation in the South China Sea Arbitral Proceedings; and his continuing public pronouncements against the actions taken by the government in relation to the SCS Arbitral Award.