Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio rejected Malacañang’s recent claim that “no power on earth” could enforce the UN arbitral court’s ruling which invalidated China’s Nine-Dash Line claim in the West Philippine Sea.
Carpio pointed out that the navies of the US, Britain, Japan and other naval had been able to regularly carry out freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea since after the historic UN Arbitral Tribunal ruling in 2016.
So to imply that the UN ruling was “useless” was wrong, said Carpio, who part of the Philippine legal team which won the Philippines case in The Hauge.
“When you say, ‘I will set aside the ruling’, then you’ve made it useless. You’ve intentionally made it useless,” explained Carpio at the sidelines of the Akademyang Filipino’s forum on protecting Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. “But the ruling is not useless because, as I’ve shown, it’s being imposed every day.”
The acting chief justice said that the Department of Foreign Affairs needed to speak up on the recent incident in which China’s coast guard prevented a “Reporter’s Notebook” news team and Filipino fishermen from documenting a story at the Scarborough Shoal.
“The DFA should bring this up to the Chinese side and discuss how incidents like this can be avoided,” said Carpio,
Meanwhile, another forum participant, maritime analyst and professor Atty. Jay Batongbacal, warned that it was dangerous to ignore China’s recent behavior as this would validate the Asian power’s claims over the Panatag Shoal.
“China is basically publicly demonstrating that there exercising sovereignty over the shoal. Kapag hindi sumagot ang Pilipinas, eh d’i parang pumayag ka na. Kaya kailangan mag bigay sila ng protest note,” argued Batongbacal.