Category Archives: Statements

Why China’s Acceptance of the Ruling Is Material Statement of Justice Antonio T. Carpio

China is legally bound by the tribunal’s ruling, whether China likes it or not. That is the compulsory nature of international law. But China can decide to go rogue and refuse to accept and implement the ruling. This is what China has done – refusing to vacate Mischief Reef which the tribunal ruled is submerged at high-tide and forms part of the Philippine EEZ. The tribunal ruled that only the Philippines can exploit or erect a structure in Mischief Reef. In international law, where there is no world policeman to enforce a legally binding ruling, acceptance and implementation of the ruling by the losing State is obviously material. More so if the losing State is a military power, and the winning State is not. That is why the UNCLOS provisions governing compulsory arbitration provide that the ruling “shall be complied with by the parties to the dispute.” The losing State is not only legally bound, but must also comply, with the ruling. So while China is indisputably legally bound by the ruling, it is important that China accept and implement the ruling. As long as China refuses to accept and implement the ruling, the Philippines should deny China’s request to conduct any marine scientific research in Benham Rise. The Philippines would be foolish to grant China’s request while China refuses to comply with the ruling. Of course, there are aspects of the ruling that can be implemented even without China’s acceptance of the ruling. Thus, when the tribunal ruled that the nine-dashed line has no legal effect, it confirmed the existence of high seas in the South China Sea and EEZs around such highseas. The naval powers of the world, led the by the U.S., are sailing in the high seas and EEZs of the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation, even without China’s acceptance of the ruling.

  Statement of Justice Antonio T. Carpio On China’s Request to Survey Benham Rise

There is no Philippine law specifically regulating marine scientific research (MSR) in our extended continental shelf (beyond the 200 NM EEZ) like Benham Rise.    However, the Philippines having ratified UNCLOS, this international convention is part of the Philippine legal system.  Under Article 246 of UNCLOS, the Philippines has an obligation to allow foreign states to conduct MSR in its continental shelf like Benham Rise “to increase scientific knowledge of the marine environment for the benefit of all mankind.”  Thus, the results of the MSR must be made known to the whole world. The MSR by foreign states in Benham Rise is purely for scientific research, and cannot be conducted to explore the mineral resources for purposes of exploitation of these resources.  Under UNCLOS, the Philippines has exclusive sovereign right to explore and exploit the mineral resources in its extended continental shelf like Benham Rise.  Neither the President nor the Foreign Secretary can waive this exclusive sovereign right to a foreign state. To ensure that the foreign state conducting MSR in our extended continental shelf is not exploring for purposes of exploitation, Filipino marine scientists must be on board the foreign research vessels. UNCLOS is a “package deal,” which means that a state that ratifies UNCLOS must accept its rights and obligations as one entire package.  A ratifying state cannot cherry pick – accepting only certain provisions and rejecting others. By refusing to accept the award of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS,  China is not accepting its obligation under UNCLOS. China should not be allowed to enjoy its rights under UNCLOS, like conducting MSR in Benham Rise, while it refuses to accept its obligation under the arbitral award. Otherwise, China is cherry picking and not taking UNCLOS as one package deal. Article 246 of UNCLOS states,  “Coastal States shall, in normal circumstances, grant their consent for marine scientific research projects by other States xxx.”   The refusal of China to comply with the arbitral award of the UNCLOS tribunal is not a “normal circumstance,” and thus the Philippines should refuse China’s request for MSR in Benham Rise.   If a bully has squatted on your frontyard, and requests to look at your backyard, would you grant the request of the bully? China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal.   Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb (bugok) to grant China’s request.

Remarks before the 2017 U.P. Alumni Homecoming – Never Give Up Honor, Sovereignty and Sovereign Rights

Justice Antonio T. Carpio A pleasant afternoon to everyone. On behalf of this year’s alumni awardees, I wish to thank the Board of Directors of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association headed by its President, Atty. Ramon Maronilla, for this signal award conferred on us. I am sure I speak for the all of the awardees here tonight that we are truly honored and humbled by this recognition. We will certainly treasure this award. This year’s theme of the Alumni Homecoming is “Itanghal ang Dangal” – Show Honor. Honor is of course the first half of the U.P. Motto – “Honor and Excellence.” The emphasis on showing honor correctly points out that honor comes before excellence, that there must be honor above all, even as there must be excellence in all that we do. For excellence without honor is a recipe for national disaster. A society that has an abundance of excellence but a scarcity of honor is a society in deep trouble. Excellence without honor creates evil geniuses and develops a culture of greed – all the expense of the common good. That is why the University must continuously teach our students, and the alumni must ceaselessly show by example, that there must be honor above all, even as we strive for excellence in all that we do. Honor is priceless for once it has a price, then it can be for sale. A nation’s sovereignty and sovereign rights are also priceless. If you put a price tag to our country’s sovereignty or sovereign rights, then another country may buy our country’s sovereignty or sovereign rights. Our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, like our honor as U.P. alumni, are priceless. They are not for sale. Our sovereign rights belong to present and future generations of Filipinos. The duty of this present generation of Filipinos is to defend and preserve our sovereign rights, and pass on these rights to the next generation for the benefit of all succeeding generations of Filipinos. No generation of Filipinos, and no individual Filipino, has the right to sell or waive the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. Any such sale or waiver is a betrayal of the nation. In this battle to defend and preserve our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, we use the most powerful weapon ever invented by man, a weapon that can neutralize warships, warplanes, missiles and nuclear bombs – and that weapon is the Rule of Law. Armed solely with this legal weapon, we won a great battle last July 2016 at The Hague before an UNCLOS tribunal, which awarded to the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea a vast Exclusive Economic Zone, with an area larger than our total land area. The next step is to enforce the award of the tribunal. This involves perseverance, steely determination, and a well-thought and carefully crafted long-term strategy. I have no doubt that if we stay the course, the award of the tribunal will gradually be followed over time because the alternative is the demise of the Law of the Sea. If the Law of the Sea cannot apply in the South China Sea, then it cannot apply in the rest of the oceans and seas of the world. Instead of the Rule of Law, the Rule of the Naval Canon will prevail in the oceans and seas. The world community of civilized nations will not allow this to happen. And even if we cannot immediately enforce the award because of the overwhelming might of the other side, we still acquit ourselves with respect before future generations of Filipinos because we are doing our duty with honor in accordance with the Rule of Law. We would be setting a fine example to future generations of what it means to do our historic duty with honor. That to me is the true meaning of “Itanghal ang dangal” – Show, display and uphold Honor against all odds. Today, we face the gravest external threat to Philippine national security since World War II. At stake is a huge maritime area rich in fishery, oil, gas and other mineral resources – – either we keep this huge maritime area or we lose it to China forever. The battle for the West Philippine Sea is the modern-day equivalent of the battles that our forebears fought, and even sacrificed their lives, to win and secure our sovereignty on land. It is the turn of our generation to face the historic duty to defend the sovereign rights of the Filipino people in the sea. To my fellow alumni of this great University: never give up your honor, never give up our sovereignty, and never give up our sovereign rights! Maraming salamit, mabuhay ang Pilipinas, mabuhay ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, mabuhay tayong lahat! ***  

The Framework Code of Conduct, One Year After the Arbitration

The Framework Code of Conduct, One Year After the Arbitration (Remarks delivered at the ADR Institute on 12 July 2017 on the 1st Anniversary of the Arbitral Ruling) Justice Antonio T. Carpio I. Introduction The historic arbitral ruling issued one year ago on 12 July 2016 was decided overwhelmingly in favor of the Philippines and against China. The ruling was jubilantly received in Hanoi, which would benefit immensely from the ruling invalidating China’s nine-dashed lines. But in Manila, the stunning victory became strangely orphaned. The Duterte Administration refused to celebrate the ruling, even though the ruling legally secured for the Philippines a vast maritime zone larger than the total land area of the Philippines. Six months later in December 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was “setting aside” the ruling in favor of better economic relations with China. I was aghast at the President’s use of the phrase “setting aside.” In law, to “set aside” a ruling means to nullify, void or abandon the ruling. I had to sound the alarm for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to immediately clarify the President’s statement. If accepted by China, the President’s statement would legally bind the Philippines under the well-recognized doctrine in international law on unilateral declarations by heads of state. Thankfully, the DFA promptly issued a clarification that there was no abandonment of the ruling. The clarification was issued just a few hours before China warmly accepted the President’s statement. This prevented the President’s statement from becoming legally binding on the Philippines. We escaped a self-inflicted national disaster by the skin of our teeth. This incident explains vividly Philippine foreign policy on the South China Sea (SCS) dispute after the arbitral ruling – a policy without discernable direction, coherence or vision, a policy that relies more on improvisation than on long-term strategy. I do not at all blame the DFA for this because the Chief Architect of our foreign policy is not the DFA but the President. I am happy that the ADR Institute has organized this forum to provide some clarity to our foreign policy on the South China Sea after the arbitral ruling II. Framework of the Code of Conduct (COC) The Framework is simply a list of topics to be included in the draft COC that will be negotiated into a final COC. The Framework is just the skeleton of an agreement. From this skeleton, a draft agreement will be fleshed out, and from this draft agreement a final agreement – the COC – will be hammered out by the parties. Each topic in the Framework indicates the intent of a provision; e.g., under the heading “Basic Undertakings,” the first item is “Duty to Cooperate,” the second item is “Promotion of Practical Maritime Confidence,” the third item is “Prevention of Incidents.” Under this item on “Prevention of Incidents,” there are two sub-items: “Confidence Building Measures” and “Hotlines,” and the fourth item is “Management of Incidents,” with the sub-item of “Hotlines.” Lawyers drafting an agreement would call the Framework “Heads of Agreement,” while laymen would call the Framework bullet points. The Framework is not the COC, not even the draft COC. The Framework, as of May 2017, is simply a one-page set of bullet points. The Framework came about 15 years after the ASEAN-China DOC was signed in 2002, which called for the negotiation of a COC. So, this one-page Framework is 15 years in the making, and it is still a skeleton of a draft agreement. China has repeatedly stated it will sign a COC “at the appropriate time,” or “when the time is ripe.” In my assessment, that time is when China has completed its island-building activities in the SCS to create the air and naval bases China needs to control the SCS for economic and military purposes. That means a strategic triangle of air and naval bases on Woody Island, in the Spratlys and in Scarborough Shoal. China already has air and naval bases on Woody Island and in the Spratlys. Thus, only one air and naval base is missing – in Scarborough Shoal – to complete China’s radar and anti-aircraft missile coverage of the entire SCS. Of course, a Chinese air and naval base in Scarborough Shoal will also protect the Bashi Channel as the outlet to the Pacific for China’s nuclear-armed submarines that are based in Hainan Island. The missiles of these Chinese submarines, if launched in the South China Sea, cannot reach the continental U.S.A. The submarines must transit the Bashi Channel and launch their missiles in the mid-Pacific. Securing the Bashi Channel is critical to China’s nuclear deterrent strategy. The Framework, and its eventual transformation and signing as a COC, is a case of good news and bad news. When China says it is ready to sign the COC, it is of course good news. But at the same time, it is also bad news because it means China will soon reclaim Scarborough Shoal since China will sign the COC only after it completes its radar and anti-aircraft missile coverage of the entire SCS. Once the COC is signed, China will then demand a freeze by all disputant states on all island-building, reclamation and militarization in the SCS. III. COC and the Arbitral Ruling The purpose of the COC is to regulate the conduct of the parties so there will be no skirmishes or shooting war in the SCS. The COC is not intended to settle the merits of the SCS dispute. The SCS dispute involves territorial and maritime disputes. There is already a dispute settlement mechanism for the merits of the maritime dispute, and that is found in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which all disputant states in the SCS are parties. There is no dispute settlement mechanism for the territorial dispute, unlike in South America where there is the Pact of Bogota. The Framework itself states that the COC is “not an instrument to settle territorial or maritime delimitation issues.” The phrase “maritime delimitation issues” should be changed to “maritime issues” only, excluding the word “delimitation.” There are issues under UNCLOS other than maritime delimitation, like the status of geologic features, whether such features are low-tide elevations or high-tide elevations, and these issues are not delimitation issues. As worded in the Framework, the Philippine may be impliedly barred […]


20 May 2017 The United Nations Charter outlaws the use or threat of force to settle disputes between states. In the West Philippine Sea dispute, an arbitral tribunal created under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which China is a party, has already ruled with finality that the Reed Bank is within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines and only the Philippines can exploit the natural resources within Philippine EEZ. The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties. As a nation that under its Constitution has renounced war as an instrument of national policy, the Philippines’ recourse is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, to secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared the Reed Bank part of Philippine EEZ. The Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ. The Philippines can also bring China’s threat to go to war against the Philippines before the United Nations General Assembly by sponsoring a resolution condemning China’s threat of war against the Philippines and demanding that China comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal. China has no veto in the General Assembly. The Philippine Constitution mandates that the “State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its xxx exclusive economic zone.” Since the Philippines has renounced war as an instrument of national policy, the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine EEZ. In the face of China’s open threat of war to seize Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, an area larger than the total land area of the Philippines, the President cannot simply do nothing, or worse acquiesce to China’s action, for inaction is the opposite of protecting Philippine EEZ. Under international law, acquiescence is the inaction of a state in the face of threat to its rights under circumstances calling for objection to the threat to its rights. Acquiescence means the Philippines will lose forever its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea to China. China’s blatant threat of war against the Philippines demands that the Philippines strengthens its defenses and alliances. In particular, the Philippines must strengthen its alliance with the United States, the only country with whom the Philippines has a mutual defense treaty. The United Nations Charter recognizes the right of states to mutual self-defense against armed aggression. The Philippines can ally with the United States because the United States does not claim the West Philippine Sea or any Philippine territory. The Philippines cannot ally with China because China wants to grab for itself the West Philippine Sea and the Spratlys. As long as China threatens the Philippines with war over the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines can never lower its guard in its dealings with China. Among all the countries in the world, only China has threatened the Philippines with war over Philippine EEZ in the West Philippines Sea. The other claimant states in the Spratlys – Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei – recognize Philippine EEZ, including Reed Bank, in the West Philippine Sea. The only dispute of the Philippines with Vietnam and Malaysia is on high-tide elevation rocks and their 12 nautical mile territorial seas in the Spratlys, which are more than 100 nautical miles from Reed Bank. Vietnam and Malaysia are certainly not claiming the Reed Bank. The Philippines has no dispute with Brunei. Reed Bank is vital to Philippine national interest. It is the only replacement for Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon. Malampaya will run out of gas in less than 10 years. Unless the Philippines develops Reed Bank, Luzon will suffer 10 to 12 hours of brownouts daily 10 years from now. This will devastate the Philippine economy. China’s threat of war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea reveals the aggressive design of China against the Philippines. No less than Chinese President Xi Jingping has delivered the threat personally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. This extremely troubling development calls for all Filipinos to unite to defend the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the Constitution, international law and UNCLOS. ###

Remarks of Amb. Albert del Rosario: “Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea”

Remarks on the Occasion of the Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio E-Book Launching “Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” 4 May 2017, Turf Room, Manila Polo Club Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, friends and distinguished guests, good evening. Let me begin by congratulating my esteemed friend, Justice Carpio, on the launch of his book, Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea: The South China Sea Disputes. As an edited collection of his many lectures on the West Philippine Sea, the book is an invaluable contribution to this country and its appreciation for the promise of the waters around us. As the book demonstrates, explorers journeyed through the South China Sea for centuries, establishing the trade links and cultural ties that have helped bring the people of our region together. Their travels, captured in the maps depicted in the book, demonstrate the deep and shared history of the Asia-Pacific region. This history, I believe, can be a potent source of inspiration for today’s governments, as they work toward maintaining a peaceful and constructive coexistence. In many ways, the world we face today has changed from the world of our forebears. The Philippines and other Southeast Asian states that surround the waters of the South China Sea are grappling with increasing pressures, even as they pursue sincere cooperation and ensure the proper protection of the sea’s important resources and of our oceangoing heritage. This protection has been facilitated by the Law of the Sea, a UN Convention that defines the areas wherein we have sovereign rights and, therefore, the responsibilities of stewardship. Yet, with an aggressiveness that has not ceased, China prevented us from carrying out even the most basic exploration and exploitation activities in areas where only the Philippines has rights—rights that The Hague Tribunal, working in a neutral and independent manner, affirmed in last year’s ruling. Instead, China seeks to enforce what it calls its ‘nine-dash line’, creating a “Berlin Wall of the Sea”: a giant fence owned by, and excluding everyone but China itself. In doing so, China has suffocated marine life and habitat, erected military bases, and prevented fishermen from pursuing their livelihood and providing our sustenance. As early as 2011, Justice Carpio correctly foresaw the unilateralist path on which Beijing would embark in its attempts to control the South China Sea. He pointed to and proactively advised on the use of international law as the best and most peaceful means of securing our position on the basis of universally recognized global norms and principles. In the West Philippine Sea, the Law of the Sea has helped us to define what is ours and to defend what is ours. The law, and the rules-based order that it comes from, therefore, lies at the very heart of Philippine interests. Thus, for no reason should the law be reduced to a quaint resolution of an earlier time. Rather, it should be accorded the primacy that the founders of the United Nations and the drafters of UNCLOS had envisioned. When we started our arbitration, the Philippines was fulfilling one of its most solemn duties, which is to settle international disputes peacefully. There is no denying that our disputes with China in the South China Sea have, for a very long time, complicated our relationship. Our intent, in turning to arbitration, was to provide all parties a durable, rules-based solution. Beyond our country’s immediate interests in the West Philippine Sea, there was a second, larger principle behind the decision to proceed to arbitration. When we agree to rules and commit to upholding them, we create predictability, promote stability, foster a peaceful environment conducive to resolving disputes, and maintain the dignity of our independence as a nation. There can be no doubt that Philippine interests are best promoted when all states, of any size or power, adhere to the commonly agreed upon standards that govern countries’ rights and relationships. Moreover, the conventions of the rules-based system, especially UNCLOS, pay respect and give new life to our region’s shared, oceangoing history. This respect is reflected throughout Southeast Asia, where our neighbors and our many global friends have pledged to uphold this rules-based system, however it may be challenged by Beijing’s unilateralism. We cannot forget what the Philippines has gained from the tribunal outcome and may still hope to gain, through desired leadership, from the protection of the rules-based system. It must be realized that we cannot weaken that protection by picking and choosing when to promote the law and when to ignore it. By obligation, through our leadership and with the support of the responsible community of nations, we must instead ensure that the whole of the rules-based system succeeds. For this reason, I have the highest regard for Justice Carpio’s book, which stresses the central importance of international law, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and of upholding the rights of all nations, large and small. In contrast, there are those who think the rule of law in international relations does not apply to Great Powers. I stand with Justice Carpio and the large majority of Filipinos in firmly rejecting that view. More specifically, there are some who could not believe that the Arbitral Tribunal would have the courage to apply the law to China. Yet, the ruling should not only benefit the Philippines, it must benefit all claimants, including China itself. For China, it helps define and clarify its maritime entitlements. For the Philippines, it has affirmed what is ours, specifically our fishing rights, rights to resources and rights to enforce our laws within the exclusive economic zone. And, for the rest of the international community, it helps to secure the peace, stability and the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. I thank Justice Carpio for continuously emphasizing the need to defend our rights through peaceful international legal action. He used his vision, wisdom, and expertise towards helping our country forge our legal strategy for the South China Sea, situating it firmly within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Thank you, Justice Carpio, for being the most diligent defender of our country’s position in the disputes over the South China Sea. Thanks to your vision and assistance, notwithstanding the administration’s position, the outcome of our arbitration case will […]

REMARKS ON LAUNCHING OF EBOOK | May 04, 2017 | Justice Antonio T. Carpio

Good afternoon to everyone. Thank you for attending this launch of my eBook, “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea.” I am truly honored by your presence. First, I wish to thank with gratitude all those who made this eBook possible. I start, of course, with Secretary Albert del Rosario, a true Filipino patriot, who invited me in 2015 to conduct a lecture tour to explain to the world the South China Sea dispute from the Philippine perspective. This eBook is mainly based on those foreign lectures, as well as on my lectures here in the Philippines. Secretary del Rosario will be remembered as the courageous Foreign Secretary who filed the landmark arbitration case against China. Thank you, Secretary del Rosario. I thank the ambassadors, officials and staff of our foreign embassies and missions in the countries where I delivered my lectures. We can truly be proud of our Foreign Service officials and personnel who never fail to advance, promote and protect our national interests. I can attest to this. I wish to thank the Filipino community of Law of the Sea advocates, and national security analysts, who shared with me their insights on the South China Sea dispute. We all have one common purpose – to defend, protect and preserve Philippine maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea. I wish to thank the lawyers and staff in my office for their dedication and sacrifice in helping me produce this eBook. Without the contributions and insights of all these people, whom I have specifically acknowledged by name in the eBook, this eBook would not have been possible. I thank Mr. Mel Velasco Velarde, an IT entrepreneur, who did not hesitate to bid for the 1734 Murillo Velarde map, and donate it to the Filipino people, to show to the world that Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys were already part of Philippine territory since at least 1734. The 1734 Murillo Velarde map is on exhibit here today – the very first exhibit of this particular map in the Philippines. The map arrived from London only six days ago. Thank you, Mel, for your generosity and patriotism. I wish to thank my family, my wife Ruth, my number one critic, and my children Ronnie and Audrey, for their understanding and support during the time that I had to devote my attention, and almost all my free time, on my lectures and this eBook. Of course, my lecture tour abroad would not have been possible without the approval of the Supreme Court En Banc. I wish to thank my esteemed colleagues in the Court for granting my request for time to do the lecture tour. The purpose of this eBook is threefold. First, this eBook is intended to inform the Filipino people about the vast maritime areas and rich natural resources that they own in the West Philippine Sea under international law. Once the Filipino people realize that these maritime areas and resources belong to them and to future generations of Filipinos, as affirmed with finality by an UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, then the Filipino people will never allow any government administration, any government agency, or any government official to give away or compromise these maritime areas or resources in favor of a foreign state in violation of the Constitution. Second, this eBook is intended to inform other coastal states of the world that it is in their national interest to help the Philippines protect Philippine maritime entitlements. That is why Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese and Spanish versions of this eBook will be released later. For if China can grab for itself the maritime entitlements of the Philippines in violation of international law, then other coastal states may also lose their maritime entitlements to their more powerful neighboring states. This would end the rule of law in the oceans and seas of our planet. Third, this eBook is intended to convince the Chinese people that the nine-dashed line has no legal or historical basis. That is why a Mandarin version of this eBook will be released hopefully before yearend. The Chinese government will not comply with the ruling of the arbitral tribunal unless the Chinese people understand that the nine-dashed line is baseless. If the Chinese government complies with the arbitral ruling today, when the Chinese people still believe, although erroneously, in the correctness of the nine-dashed line, that will only de-legitimize the Chinese government in the eyes of the Chinese people. I believe that, like all other peoples of the world, the Chinese people are inherently good, but their government has drilled into their minds that they owned the South Chinese Sea since 2,000 years ago. This is, of course, utterly false and the world will never accept this. Once the Chinese people realize the falsity of the nine-dashed line, they themselves will be too ashamed to press the nine-dashed line claim before the world. That will be the time when the Chinese government can comply with the ruling of the arbitral tribunal. Gen. Jose Almonte once said that there are only two ways for China to comply with the ruling of the arbitral tribunal. Either China itself voluntarily complies with the ruling, or world opinion forces China to comply with the ruling. World opinion matters because China needs the world to survive – China needs to export, and to import, to keep its economy going. China wants the respect of the world as a responsible world leader. This eBook addresses these two ways of how China can comply with the ruling. Once the Chinese people understand that the nine-dashed line has no legal or historical basis, then they will in time give up, on their own, the nine-dashed line. And once the other coastal states of the world understand that they may be the next victims of the same maritime encroachment by their more powerful neighbors, they will, to protect their own national interest, join in convincing China to comply with the ruling. Now, why an eBook and not a physical book? This book in its printed form can never be distributed in China. It will be banned. The only way this book can reach the Chinese people is in electronic format through the Internet, and through multiple download sources. So, this eBook is downloadable for free at the […]

A Common Heritage of Profound Legacies: Pedro Murillo Velarde and Antonio Tirol Carpio

To be delivered at the Book Launching of Justice Antonio Carpio’s e-book, Manila Polo Club, May 4, 2017, 5pm. Mr. Mel V. Velarde I am truly honored to be part of this launching event of an important e-book, authored by Honorable Antonio Tirol Carpio, Senior Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court. Yes, this book is about the West Philippine Seas, the Law of Sea, and the UNCLOS decision. But it is more than that. It is a literary and visual masterpiece, offering new and simple ways of viewing oceans and lands, peoples and nations, and the Law of the Sea that rule them. This book offers an intellectual and multi-sensorial journey from confusion to clarity, separating errors from truths, about the Law of the Sea. It offers an abundance of historical, legal, socio-cultural and geo-political ideas and insights. Equipped with this book, this generation and the next generations would be able to formulate new algorithms for inter-racial and inter-regional cooperation. Lucidly written, every page is embellished with high-definition graphics, using visual artistry at its best, and availing of the most advanced cloud computing technology of its time. Download the e-book from anywhere, anytime, 24 by 7. Most especially, it is free of charge. It is one of Justice Carpio’s legacies, the object of his intense diligence and devotion, with which he dedicates so zealously and patriotically to the Filipino people. The 1734 Murillo-Velarde Map is also officially exhibited here this afternoon. Known as the 1734 Hydrographical and Chorographical Chart of the Philippines and regarded by historians as the “mother of all Philippine maps,” it is the first scientific map that shows the entire Philippine archipelago. Produced by Spanish Jesuit Priest, Pedro Murillo Velarde (born in 1696, died 1754), together with two early Filipinos—Francisco Suarez, who drew the map, and Nicolas dela Cruz Bagay, who engraved it. From a geographic point of view, this large-format map is top of its class, given its accuracy at a time when there were no airplanes, GPS or Google earth. But there already was “call a friend”; Father Murillo Velarde had many Indios as friends. They joined him and his fellow priests in producing this map. They wandered all over our lands and used their eyes by day, and stars by night, to explore and document the sizes and shapes, location and relation, of our seas, rocks, islands, mountains and many other points of interest. The map is also a magnificent ethnographic document, as it depicts on twelve engravings, the life of the Indios, the Spanish settlers and other ethnic groups living in the archipelago. Most especially, the islands and rocks in Scarborough and Spratlys, identified respectively as Panacot and Los Bajos de Paragua, are drawn in this map, showing that they have been part of our archipelago since centuries ago, when our land was under Spanish rule. The map of Murillo Velarde had set the standard of map-making in the 17th century and beyond. In 2014, Justice Carpio discovered that this map was scheduled to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s London in November of that year. He shared this information to various public and private museums, and individuals including myself. I was the lucky bidder who won in that auction. So last April 21, 2017, we signed a deed of donation with the Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippine government, represented by the Honorable Secretary Jose Calanggan Calida, officially making this map a gift to the Filipino people. Pedro Murillo Velarde was also a lawyer, a graduate of law at the University of Salamanca. He learned to speak Tagalog to immerse into the lives and circumstances of the Indios. In 1745, numerous revolts took place around Manila against the religious haciendas that had grown at the expense of indigenous and communal lands. The Indio rebels were caught and arrested, and this Spanish Friar, Pedro Murillo Velarde, defended them as their lawyer when they were prosecuted. In fact, he wrote a manifesto entitled: “The Manifesto in defense of the Indios of Gilan and San Mateo.” The Spanish hierarchy questioned Murillo Velarde why he was defending the Indios. His answer was: “the only way to conquer them is to conquer their hearts thru the rule of law.” This is exactly what Justice Carpio is achieving thru his works behind the scenes of the UNCLOS case, and thru his speeches and personal interactions with people around the country and the world. This personal civic duty he imposes upon himself has blossomed into a visual cum literary compilation, a patriarchal narrative in the making, in the form of an e-book as his tribute to all nations and generations, now and in the future. There is a plaque of honor installed at a government office at Laujar de Andarax, Andalucia, Spain, with the name Pedro Murillo Velarde bearing the title: “Defender of the Indigenous Rights of the Filipinos.” I hear the same honorific recognition in the words of former Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Albert del Rosario, when he wrote in the foreword in the ebook and I quote: “Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio is a dedicated public servant, an eminent jurist, an outstanding scholar, and an ardent patriot in promoting and defending our nation’s rights as enshrined in the Law of the Sea. … our staunchest defender of our country’s position in the disputes over the South China Sea. He used his vision, wisdom and expertise towards helping our country forge our legal strategy for the South China Sea.” I end this set of quotations using the first sentence in the foreword Sec del Rosario wrote: “Our country owes an incalculable debt of gratitude to Justice Antonio Carpio.” The works, advocacies and principles of Pedro Murillo Velarde and Antonio Tirol Carpio, that mirror each other, constitute the very essence of who they are, making the absence of one as potent as the presence of the other. Both exemplified a rare kind of conviction deeply ingrained like codes in their souls. Faced with moral crises, they showed to the world what performance beyond the call of duty truly required. It is not what one can do, but what he ought to do, for the greater ends of humanity.

Del Rosario — Personal Statement on Final Arbitral Award

On the West Philippine Sea dispute, former President Benigno Aquino III had taken an official position to defend what is legitimately ours as mandated by our Constitution. This led as a last resort to filing a compulsory arbitration case against China. As a private citizen of the Philippines, please allow me to humbly express my views on the Award handed down by the Arbitral Tribunal on our country’s claims with regard to maritime entitlements in the South China Sea: 1) At the outset, we should welcome the Award and thank the Arbitral tribunal for their wisdom and objectivity. 2) The Awards affirms the primacy of the rule of law based on UNCLOS, the constitution for the oceans. The Award further affirms our collective belief that right is might and that international law is the great equalizer among states. 3) For the sake of maintaining international order, it is imperative that the Award and clarification of maritime entitlements be accepted by all relevant countries – without exception – so that we can work together on how remaining issues can be peacefully resolved. 4) The Award provides a basis to further talks and cooperation to encompass all parties, including China. This has been proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte so that good faith discussions, based on the rule of law, can be commenced to prepare the ay for negotiations and a lasting settlement among all parties with claims in the South China Sea. 5) Finally, we should proffer our deep gratitude to the community of responsible nations which has firmly supported us, and we trust that these nations will continue their invaluable support to have all relevant countries respect the rule of law as handed down by the arbitral tribunal.

Personal Statement on Final Arbitral Award

Justice Antonio T. Carpio The Tribunal’s ruling today re-affirms mankind’s faith in the rule of law in peacefully resolving disputes between States and in rejecting the use or threat of force in resolving such disputes. This rule of law is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The ruling also re-affirms UNCLOS as the Constitution for the oceans of our planet, a treaty ratified by 167 States, including China and the Philippines. The ruling applies the fundamental law of the sea principle that “land dominates the sea,” that is, any claim to maritime zones must emanate from land and can extend only to the limits prescribed under UNCLOS. No state can claim almost an entire sea contrary to this fundamental principle and maritime limits. The ruling further re-affirms the wisdom of the Philippine Constitution in renouncing war as an instrument of national policy, and in adopting international law as part of the laws of Philippines. The ruling manifests the faithful compliance by the Philippine Government to the Philippine Constitution, which mandates that the “State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its xxx exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”