Tag Archives: Justice Antonio T. Carpio

If the next president withdraws our case against China, call him a TRAITOR

Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio advised the country’s next president to push through with the territorial dispute case before the United Nations-backed Arbitration Tribunal because withdrawing it would be catastrophic and a big blow against our Sovereignty and Constitution. In a open forum on the dispute on the West Philippine Sea Thursday night, Carpio was asked about the willingness of 2016 presidential aspirants Jejomar Binay and Grace Poe to reopen negotiations with China. Carpio said there is nothing wrong with “amicable settlements” while there is an ongoing case, but to withdraw it would be “catastrophic and extremely unpatriotic”. “I think the case would be decided before the next president assumes office. In the event it would not be decided, and there’s a new president, the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) itself encourages parties to come to an amicable settlement even while the case is going on,” Carpio said in the forum attended by veteran journalists, historians, and seasoned lawyers. “If a new president comes in and the case is still going on, there is nothing wrong with talking to China. What is wrong is if the case is withdrawn. It should not be withdrawn… If the president will withdraw the case because we’re willing to talk with China, that would be catastrophic,” he added. Carpio also strongly disagree on a possible settlement to just split the West Philippine Sea into two between the Philippines and China. He said to do so would be unconstitutional and would result in the president’s impeachment. Read more: http://themaharlikan.info/defense/if-the-next-president-withdraws-our-case-against-china-call-him-a-traitor/

Philippines vs. China: Arbitral Claims under UNCLOS

Launching the Arbitral Case The arbitration, filed in accordance with the dispute settlement provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (“UNCLOS”) (Art. 287 and Annex VII (“Arbitration”), commenced on 22 January, 2013, when the Philippines served China with a “Notification and Statement of Claim” “over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.” On 19 February, 2013, China, in a diplomatic note setting out “the Position of China on the South China Sea issues,” rejected the Notification. Both countries ratified UNCLOS. Part 1. Philippines’ good-faith attempts at negotiations with China As Paul S. Reichler, Lead Counsel for the Philippines, explains at an UNCLOS discussion: “Negotiations go back to 1995 … China simply held on to the position that China had sovereignty and sovereign rights within the 9-dash line.” The situation was aggravated in April 2012 by Chinese ships surrounding Scarborough Shoal.” “And in the spring of this year, China moved in on Second Thomas Shoal.” (P.S. Reichler, Foley Hoag LLP) Part 2. What lies at stake? PHILIPPINES: If China’s claim [assertion of its 9-dash line] were allowed to stand, the Philippines stands to lose substantial rights to her Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). China would deprive fishermen from Zambales and Pangasinan of their livelihood. China’s land reclamation and islandbuilding activities would damage the marine ecosystem. The safety of maritime vessels would be at risk. The potential to exploit a major hydo-carbon resource in Reed Bank (100 miles off Palawan) would be lost. CHINA: Apart from asserting sovereignty over “an area defined by the “9-dash line,” a right that China asserts “goes back centuries to when the Paracel [disputed by Vietnam] and Spratly island chains were regarded as integral parts of the Chinese nation” (BBC News), China has refused to take part in the case, or to accept the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. (see the PROC’s Position Paper, 7 Dec. 2014) Part 3. Philippines Resorts to Arbitration in accordance with UNCLOS Philippines’ “Rules-based” Approach. As Reichler explains: “Confronting China militarily is not a viable option. The Philippines does not have the kind of economic or commercial influence” to change her behavior.” But the one option that appeared was the law” because “before an arbitral tribunal, a small State that is weaker militarily, economically, commercially, has the opportunity, at least, to compete on equal terms.” (Reichler, A UNCLOS discussion) Philippines’ Strategic Approach in the Arbitration. Adhering to the requisites of UNCLOS, the Philippines did not seek a ruling “on the territorial sovereignty aspect.” She instead sought a “clarification of her maritime entitlements.” Reichler elaborates: Under UNCLOS, “a coastal state entitlement is described as a 12-mile entitlement to a territorial sea over which the coast exercises sovereignty over land, and almost a 200-mile economic zone off its coast.” Within 200 miles off its coast, “a State has an exclusive entitlement to use the living resources, fish in the water, and the non-living resources under the sea bed, that is, the continental shelf.” “China’s claims conflict with this sovereignty or sovereign rights not only of 200 miles but of more than 800 miles” from her mainland coast. (A) 9-dash line. The Philippines’ “main claim” is that China’s 9-dash claim, that is, her claim of sovereignty and sovereign rights extending far beyond her entitlement under UNCLOS, is “inconsistent with that Convention and it constitutes a trespass or violation of the Philippines within 200 miles.” (Reichler, A UNCLOS Discussion) Reichler emphasizes: “Sovereignty is disputed.” But under UNCLOS, an arbitral tribunal “does not have jurisdiction to determine sovereignty over land features, and that includes islands or insular formation. However, what the Philippines has asked of the Tribunal is that it determine the status of this feature under the Convention, that is, is it a true island which would generate, like a State with a coastline, a 200- mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, or is it what the Convention refers to as a rock, an insular feature that is above water at high tide?” (Reichler; bold added) Read more: http://maritimereview.ph/2016/01/18/philippines-vs-china-arbitral-claims-under-unclos/

China rejects U.N. arbitration on disputed South China Sea

The Arbitral Tribunal under the UN Convention on Law of Seas (UNCLOS) established at the request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over the case, Mr. Hong said. China on Monday rejected a UN tribunal’s arbitration on the disputed South China Sea saying it had no jurisdiction over the case even as Beijing asserted it would not accept any third-party settlement of territorial disputes. “China’s territorial sovereignty should be decided by all the Chinese people, and no other people or organisation has the right to handle it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told media here. He was replying to a question on the recent release of a court hearing record by an international tribunal in the Hague lodged by the Philippines as China brushed aside the UN tribunal arbitrating the case saying that it will not accept its verdict in the matter. Mr. Hong said China’s position on the South China Sea stands on a solid international legal base and will remain unchanged. He said at the hearing, the Philippines which filed the petition ignored facts, international law and justice, and attempted to deny China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea (SCS) islands. The Arbitral Tribunal under the UN Convention on Law of Seas (UNCLOS) established at the request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over the case, Mr. Hong said. Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-rejects-un-arbitration-on-disputed-south-china-sea/article8014528.ece

International Court Hard for China to Ignore

When an international court ruled in late October that it had jurisdiction to hear a case filed by the Philippines against China over the disputed South China Sea, Beijing dismissed the decision, saying it would “lead to nothing”. Philippine officials as well as some foreign diplomats and experts disagree, saying China could come under intensified diplomatic and legal pressure if the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ultimately decides in favor of Manila. Legal experts say Manila has a significant chance of success, citing the court’s detailed rejection of China’s arguments in the hearing on jurisdiction. A final ruling is expected in mid-2016. Such a judgment would likely be a millstone around China’s neck, especially at regional meetings, because it would mark the first time an international court has intervened in the dispute, making it harder for Beijing to ignore, the diplomats and experts said. Barely noticed when Manila filed the case in 2013 and largely seen as a sideshow since then to the tensions playing out on the waterway itself, some Asian and Western countries have started expressing growing support for the court process. One expert said if the ruling went against China on key points he would expect to see coordinated positions from Western nations that would keep the pressure on Beijing in bilateral meetings and at international forums. “Other countries will use it as a stick to beat Beijing with. That’s why China is so freaked by this whole issue,” said Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore’s Institute of South East Asian Studies. Read more: http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/international-court-hard-for-china-to-ignore

Danger looms in horizon as China masses up on warships, warns SC justice Carpio China wants it all.

This was the grim scenario portrayed by Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio at a lecture Friday on China’s burgeoning influence over the South China Sea. Carpio, who spoke at the invitation of the Ateneo de Davao University on “The South China Sea/West Philippine Sea Dispute,” said the Chinese government is trying to wield control, even over the high seas, and is beefing up its war fleet in most parts of Asia. This posturing makes it a dangerous country in the future unless it is stopped from imposing its 9-dashed line claim against the Philippines and other countries in SouthEast Asia, he said. “We wanted to bring the issue to a wider community not just within the legal community so we brought Justice Carpio to Davao,” said Atty. Cecilia Jover-Angeles of the Ateneo de Davao Law School. She hoped the lecture would educate the public about the country’s longstanding dispute with China. China claims sovereignty over all the waters, islands, reefs, rocks, seabed, minerals and living and non-living resources falling within its 9-dashed line claim in the South China Sea. The 9-dashed line area comprises almost 90% of the total area of the South China Sea. “China’s 9-dashed line claim encroaches on 80% of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and 100% of its extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” said Carpio. Either the Philippines keeps them or loses them to China, he added. But China’s 9-dashed line claim does not only affect the Philippines. It also gobbles up the EEZs of other countries. Malaysia loses 80% of its EEZ, Vietnam loses 50%, Brunei 90%, and Indonesia 30%. Carpio’s presentation showed images of how China’s build-up activities in the disputed sea point to a long-term plan for a massive military capability build-up. He said China will soon deploy a 10,000-ton coast guard vessel, the world’s largest blue water coastguard vessel. China has more coastguard vessels than Japan, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and the Philippines combined. “Under its 2015 China Military Strategy, China will shift from offshore water defense to the combined offshore water defense and open sea protection,” Carpio warned. Read more: http://mindanaodailymirror.com/danger-looms-in-horizon-as-china-masses-up-on-warships-warns-sc-justice-carpio-china-wants-it-all-9676/

Phl lead counsel: China to lose influence if it defies tribunal’s decision

FILE – In this Friday, April 17, 2015 file photo, protesters display placards during a rally at the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines to protest moves by China in “fortifying” its claims at the disputed Spratlys Islands in the South China Sea. China’s campaign of island building in the South China Sea might soon quadruple the number of airstrips available to the People’s Liberation Army in the highly contested and strategically vital region. That could be bad news for other regional contenders, especially the U.S., the Philippines and Vietnam. AP/Bullit Marquez, File MANILA, Philippines – China might lose its influence over smaller states if it will defy the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the arbitration case regarding the South China Sea dispute, according to the Philippines’s lead counsel in the case. Manila lead counsel Paul Reichler said in an interview with the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative that China is expected to “vent quite a bit” if the tribunal sides with the Philippines. “By defying a judgment, particularly if it’s a unanimous judgment, particularly if it’s well-reasoned, if it’s well-explained and if it is understood and supported by the international community… China will be branded… an international outlaw state,” Reichler said. Reichler added that this would cause a “loss of prestige” and loss of influence, particularly over Southeast Asian nations. The international lawyer, however, noted that China’s initial reaction might not be its final reaction. “There is a strong possibility that China will look for a way to save face and accommodate itself of the judgment not only of the arbitral tribunal but the international community,” the lawyer said. Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/12/11/1531526/phl-lead-counsel-china-lose-influence-if-it-defies-tribunals-decision

Grafters take it on the chin

Just this month alone, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales sacked a number of government officials and employees. On November 5 eight personnel of the Commission on Audit (COA) were dismissed from the service for receiving millions of pesos in additional compensation and bonuses from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). Four LWUA executives got six-month suspensions for approving the illegal payments. The Ombudsman said the “COA auditors and employees were obviously motivated by malicious intent to favor self-interest at the expense of the public” and that “their acts are contrary to accepted rules of right and duty, honesty and good morals.” As for the LWUA executives, “their stamp of approval and authorization for fund disbursement as payment for the questioned benefits is a clear transgression” of the salary standardization law and other COA regulations. On November 4 a former governor of Sarangani and the provincial agriculturist were sentenced by the Sandiganbayan Third Division to 10 to 18 years of imprisonment for malversation of public funds. The two were held criminally liable for misappropriating 1,875 sacks of rice intended for victims of La Niña. Ombudsman prosecutors proved that the sacks of rice were diverted and given to barangay and municipal officials one week prior to the 2002 elections. Also on the same day, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal from the service of eight municipal employees of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, for their involvement in the procurement of expired and overpriced medicines worth P1.8 million in 2009. On November 3 the Ombudsman announced the dismissal from service of three mayors and 27 other local officials from all over Mindanao for various offenses in the performance of their functions. Dismissed from the government service were the incumbent mayors of Cagayan de Oro; Matanao, Davao del Sur; and Ditsa-an Ramain, Lanao del Sur. They were also perpetually barred from holding public office. The Ombudsman also said three other mayors, four vice mayors and 30 other local officials in Mindanao had been criminally indicted last month for various charges, including malversation, failure to liquidate cash advances, and irregularities in the procurement process. All this shows that the government is making inroads in fighting  graft and corruption. But the public also deserves to know why it is mostly the small fry who end up being convicted by the courts while the big fish can get away with murder because they either have the right connections and can buy their way out of a legal mess. The guiding principle for all those serving in the government is found in Article XI of the 1987 Constitution: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people; serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice; and lead modest lives.” Not all, obviously, take this to heart, and the recent decisions of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan tell us very clearly that much remains to be done to instill honesty among those who choose to work in the government service. Will PHL win in maritime row? Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio deserves credit for his rigorous study of our territorial dispute with China and for helping the government in crafting our legal position on the issue. According to the jurist, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague hearing the Philippine case against China over disputed territory in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) is likely to decide in our favor. Why? Because when the international tribunal ruled recently that it has jurisdiction over the case, it ignored China’s so-called nine-dash line, which includes practically the entire South China Sea. The tribunal described the disputed Scarborough Shoal as “merely a rock above water at high tide and incapable of sustaining human habitation of its own.  Thus, Scarborough Shoal is entitled only to a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea, and not to an EEZ [exclusive economic zone] or ECS [extended continental shelf].” Read more: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/grafters-take-it-on-the-chin/