MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has advised the Duterte government to elevate to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Chinese President Xi Jinping’s threat of war against the Philippines should the latter insist on drilling for oil in the disputed South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea.
“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 the Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone) 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,” Carpio said.
Since the Philippine Constitution renounces war as an instrument of national policy, one of the Duterte administration’s options is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal.
It could also secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared Recto (Reed) Bank part of Philippine EEZ.
Recto Bank is vital to Philippine national interest, as it is the only replacement for Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon.
The Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.