Former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has already retired from his duties at the Supreme Court since October 23 of last year, but he has still not let up on delivering almost quarterly lectures on the West Philippine Sea Dispute at the University.
To honor his life’s work, the University administration and the International Studies Department announced in a recent Help Desk announcement that it will soon unveil the Carpio Room, split off from the existing Philippe Jones Lhuillier Conference Room. The new area will be dedicated to the former justice himself, at the 11th floor of the Learning Commons at the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall.
“I’m grateful, really grateful,” remarked the former justice, adding, “I am still alive, but it’s like I already have a memorial.”
The room, under refurbishment since March, will proudly display Carpio’s greatest achievements, including famed court hearings, enigmatic quotes, and maps of disputed territories around the world. In a simple unveiling ceremony, University President Br. Raymundo Suplido FSC expressed his gratitude to the former justice. “Our dear Justice Carpio has done a great deal in serving this country. This room will serve as a monument for the great Carpio, even though he is still with us—it is good to prepare early, sometimes,” Suplido solemnly echoed.
Instead of just being a “trophy showcase”, Suplido explained that the area would also serve as a lecture room, saying, “This room will be permanently reserved for whenever our dear Justice Carpio chooses to impart knowledge about the West Philippine Sea dispute with us again.”
One of the fixtures currently mounted on one side of the room is a six-foot-long infographic that shows the sequence of events that led to the Philippines’ landmark arbitration case victory over China, although only four feet of the display have only been used so far. “We’ll fill in the other two feet for when the arbitration victory actually makes an impact,” Suplido remarked.
A physical and digital copy of the 2013 arbitration case will be freely given to visitors as well. Transcripts of Carpio’s previous lectures conducted at the University will also be included in the room “to help our students better understand why China is not number one in court cases,” the University president explained.
In defense of the motherland
In a video message, Carpio expressed his thanks and emphasized that defending the country’s sovereignty is an utmost form of patriotism. “The Philippines is not a nation without its people. Without its people, we are nothing,” he emphasized.
Hearing Carpio’s words, a few students became overwhelmed with emotions. Ree John Euch (IV, ISE-APC), who also serves as an army reservist, affirmed his trust in Carpio. “Lead us Justice Carpio, and we will follow!” he declared.
June Seri (IV, ISE-FIN) also conveyed thundering praise to the retired justice. “Apart from my K-pop biases, Justice Carpio is my hope and my guide. May he lead our country to eternal glory!” she shared.
Carpio encouraged students to be aware of social issues affecting modern society and address it in the best way students can. Carpio also lambasted government officials who were “complicit” in compromising Philippine sovereignty. “There are people out there—I won’t say who, but their first name might begin with the letter R—who are not doing a very great job of defending our country,” Carpio remarked.
Judge to educator
In a surprise move, Carpio, whose lectures tackled the ongoing dispute, revealed that he will be taking up a professorial position in DLSU to teach Geopolitics until 2060. Carpio stressed that he had been thinking about teaching at the University since December of last year and decided to be an associate professor at the International Studies Department. “I gave the department a call and they gave me the job, just like that,” Carpio shared.
Dr. Beau Ong-Mundo of the International Studies Department welcomed Carpio’s entry as a “valuable addition” to the department. “We in the [International Studies Department], are really excited to work with Justice Carpio. The WPHLSEA elective will be his to teach alone,” Ong-Mundo stated, referring to a new course created just for the incoming professor.
Carpio shared his joy for the job, “I have already given a thousand lectures about the West Philippine Sea dispute here in DLSU, so taking up a teaching job will be a breeze.”
He also hopes that students who join his class would be inspired to enroll in DLSU’s College of Law in Taguig. “I hope that one of my students will enter [La Salle] Law and top the bar to beat Ateneo,” Carpio added.
Although details shared by the department are still sparse, Carpio’s stint at the Manila campus will start in April next year.