Philippines’ legal fees in China case still unpaid


In a Rappler Talk interview, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario says the amount due is ‘less than a million dollars’

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ legal fees in its historic case against China remain unpaid two years after the Southeast Asian country won in The Hague, the country’s current and former foreign secretaries confirmed.

In a Rappler Talk interview with Marites Dañguilan Vitug on Monday, July 16, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario said that “the incremental payment” for the case “had not been paid.”

Del Rosario said the amount due is “less than a million dollars.”

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also disclosed in a congressional hearing on May 30 that the Philippines has not completely paid its legal fees.

The Philippines’ lead counsel in the case, Paul Reichler, is a partner at the US-based legal firm FoleyHoag. He also chairs the firm’s international litigation and arbitration department.

Even before taking up the Philippines’ case, Reichler has been hailed as “the giant slayer of public international law.”

Reichler, for one, is known for winning high-profile international cases, among them, the landmark case wherein Nicaragua sued the US for funding rebels against a left-wing government. Nicaragua, which Reichler represented, defeated the US in June 1986.

Thirty years after handling the Nicaragua case, Reichler won an overwhelming victory for the Philippines in its case against China over the South China Sea.

Sought by Rappler for comment, Reichler on Wednesday, July 18, declined to confirm or deny the statements made by Cayetano and Del Rosario on the Philippines’ unpaid bills, saying it is the policy of FoleyHoag not to publicly discuss its clients’ legal fees.