SC justice cautions govt on China loan for Chico Dam

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A Supreme Court (SC) justice has expressed alarm over the Chico River irrigation loan agreement between the Philippines and China that is supposedly advantageous to Beijing.

Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, in his speech at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila over the weekend, warned that China could seize oil and gas-rich Philippine assets in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) if the country defaulted on payment.

Carpio had slammed China over the West Philippine Sea issue, earning the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao had belittled the Supreme Court justice, saying Carpio was not an international lawyer.

In his speech, Carpio said China would ravish natural gas in areas contested by Manila and Beijing in the disputed sea if the Philippines failed to pay the $62-million loan.

The 20-year loan deal for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project was signed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotenciary of China Zhao Jianhua and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd on April 10, 2018.

“In case of default by the Philippines in the repayment of the loan, China can seize, to satisfy any arbitral award in favor of China, patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use of the Philippine government,” Carpio pointed out.

The Supreme Court justice, who will retire in October this year, cited paragraph 8.1 of the loan agreement wherein the Philippines “expressedly waived any sovereign immunity” over all its assets except for some, including “public or governmental use as distinguished from patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use.”

SC justice cautions govt on China loan for Chico Dam

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