‘Who would join him?’: Ex-SC associate justice Antonio Carpio junks FPRRD’S drive of Mindanao secession

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio
Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio CarpioRalph Llemit/SunStar Photo

FORMER Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio dismissed the proposed Mindanao secession by former President Rodrigo Duterte, questioning who would support such a move. 

Carpio said the Armed Forces of the Philippines is mandated by the 1987 Philippine Constitution to protect the people and secure the integrity of the national territory.

During a forum in Davao City on February 25, Carpio said that active officers would not join Duterte's cause, as it contradicts their oath. 

He underscored the financial challenges for Mindanao's local government units, relying heavily on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the national government. Secession would jeopardize this funding, affecting municipal operations and salaries.

Carpio discussed potential consequences, including imposing higher taxes, which might lead businesses to relocate. 

He noted that an independent Mindanao would lose economic privileges from foreign unions and be excluded from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), incurring higher tariffs.

In addition, Mindanao stands to forfeit its economic privileges from other foreign unions, such as the United States and the European Union. 

Carpio also addressed the involvement of judiciary and department officials in the secession. He warned that Congressman Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez, an advocate for Mindanao secession, could face expulsion from the House of Representatives for being disloyal to the republic.

A total of 57 lawmakers, including 53 from Mindanao, rejected Duterte's proposal for Mindanao's secession in a "Unified Manifesto for National Integrity and Development." 

The manifesto emphasizes national unity, inclusive development, and a peaceful, progressive future.

"Our stance is deeply rooted in our belief in national unity, the power of inclusive development, and the promise of a peaceful, progressive future for all Filipinos, including the indigenous people of Mindanao," the manifesto states.

In a press conference on January 30, Duterte expressed his intention to "regroup" Mindanao leaders to champion the Mindanao initiative, aiming for the island's secession from the country. 

The former president cited disappointment with how both past and present administrations manage resources and taxpayers' money as the driving force behind his advocacy.

In response, Ferdinand Marcos has called on "all concerned" to halt the calls for Mindanao's secession, emphasizing that such efforts constitute a "grave" violation of the Constitution. RGL

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