Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Carpio’

Philippines: Supreme Court justices accused of prejudice, bias against Chief Justice after Duterte says he is “her enemy” — Questions about neutrality and impartial judges, fairness of procedure

April 10, 2018
Five justices look ready to hang Chief Justice without hearing evidence after President says he is “her enemy”
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Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) – April 10, 2018 – 1:42pm

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The five Supreme Court justices accused of “prejudice” and “bias” against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno refused to take their hands off the ouster petition against her.

Last week, Sereno filed five separate motions for inhibition against Associate Justices Teresita De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza and Noel Tijam to recuse from Solicitor General Jose Calida’s petition for quo warranto.

READ: Sereno seeks De Castro’s ‘mandatory’ inhibition from ouster petition

Shortly before the high court held its oral arguments on the case, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said: “All the motions for inhibition were denied for lack of merit.

Carpio said that the justices will “explain themselves” when they issue their respective resolutions.

Reasons for the motion

The five justices appeared as resource speakers at the House of Representatives justice panel’s hearing on the impeachment case against Sereno.

The chief justice, in her motions, cited several of her colleagues’ testimonies and accused them of bias and prejudice. She said that the justices “cannot decide the quo warranto petition objectively and impartially.”

“Due process of law requires a hearing before an impartial and disinterested tribunal, and that every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge,” she added.

The justices also participated at the so-called “Red Monday” at the SC. Reports citing unnamed sources said that employees and officials of the high court wore red on the SC’s flag raising ceremony—since Sereno’s leave from court—to call for her resignation.

On Monday, Sereno said in a public speech that De Castro told her: “I will never forgive you for accepting the chief justice-ship.”

Sereno and Calida will face off at 2:00 p.m. at the SC Session Hall in Baguio City for oral debates.

This is the first time Sereno will address allegations against her.

She is also facing a separate impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, that is pending for a vote in the House plenary.

On Monday, Sereno tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as the man behind the two ouster petitions against her.

The firebrand leader, shortly after Sereno made the remark, lashed out and warned the chief justice that he is “her enemy” now. The chief executive also “ordered” the leaders of the legislative branch to hasten the impeachment of Sereno, head of the judiciary.

The legislative and judiciary branches, under the Constitution, conduct the checks and balances on the executive branch of the government.

MARIA LOURDES SERENOQUO WARRANTO PETITIONSUPREME COURT

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/04/10/1804618/five-justices-refuse-inhibit-ouster-petition-against-sereno#wRQFL1JxKFSkdBqy.99

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Philippine judge rules out South China Sea gas deal unless China recognises Manila’s sovereignty

March 5, 2018

Joint venture exploration project is in the Reed Bank area of disputed waterway, which The Hague ruled was part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 8:10pm

Any deal between the Philippines and a Chinese firm to jointly explore for gas on Reed Bank in the South China Sea would be illegal unless Beijing recognised Manila’s sovereign rights there, a Philippine judge said on Monday.

The Philippines has identified two areas in the crowded waterway suitable for joint exploration and the two countries are seeking ways to tackle the diplomatic and legal headaches of jointly exploring in the waters, but without addressing the issue of sovereignty.

Reed Bank is claimed by both sides, but international law says it falls within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. China says it falls within the so-called nine-dash line on maps recording its historic rights in the area.

Antonio Carpio, the acting top judge of the Supreme Court, said it was legal for the Philippines’ energy ministry to talk to state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) as a possible subcontractor.

“There’s no problem as long as CNOOC recognises that that is our exclusive economic zone,” he told news channel ANC. “But that is the problem, because CNOOC will not recognise [Philippine jurisdiction].”

Carpio was speaking as an expert on international law and staunch advocate for the Philippines to assert its maritime sovereignty claims.

He was among the lawyers involved in the Philippines’ legal challenge against China, which Manila took to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013.

The tribunal invalidated China’s nine-dash line in its 2016 ruling, making clear that Reed Bank fell within the Philippines’ EEZ, and that Manila had sovereign rights to resources there.

China is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea but it does not recognise The Hague ruling.

“The stumbling block has always been the insistence of China that we recognise their sovereign rights,” Carpio said.

“We cannot do that any more because there’s already a ruling. And the [Philippine] constitution says the state shall protect its marine wealth in its exclusive economic zone. It’s very specific.”

Reed Bank was the site of exploration by the Philippines’ PXP Energy Corp to evaluate the block’s gas reserves, until the energy ministry suspended activities there in late 2014 because of the arbitration case.

PXP has had talks with CNOOC for possible joint exploration and development, but the arbitration halted negotiations. Carpio said another issue between the two companies was who should collect taxes.

Last week, Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque said any potential deals between Manila and Beijing should be agreed with a company and not the Chinese government.

On Monday, he said the Philippines and China would have to sign a treaty to enter into joint exploration and development in Reed Bank.

“That’s on the assumption that [Reed Bank] is contested territory,” he said. “We have no treaty on joint exploration as of yet.”

 Reuters
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 http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2135731/philippine-judge-rules-out-south-china-sea-gas-deal

Editorial: Philippines Taking A Beating on the Rule of Law (Plus: The Truth in the South China Sea Is Only Elusive to Some…)

February 5, 2018

There’s one thing that advanced economies have in common: the rule of law prevails. This is reflected in the annual Rule of Law Index, which was launched in 2016 by the World Justice Project, a US-based non-profit organization operating worldwide to advance the rule of law.

In the latest index, the best 10 performers are Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Canada and Australia. At the bottom are Afghanistan, Cambodia and Venezuela. This year’s index is notable in that the Philippines merited special mention as “the biggest mover” as it plunged by 18 places to 88th out of 113 countries from its rank in 2016, and 13th out of 15 countries in East Asia and the Pacific.

The report said the Philippines saw substantial drops in ranking in four out of the eight factors measured in the index, placing 107th out of 113 countries in terms of order and security, 102nd in criminal justice, 99th in adherence to fundamental rights, and 59th in constraints on government powers.

The other factors used to measure adherence to the rule of law are absence of corruption, open government, regulatory enforcement and criminal justice. The index covers 113 countries and jurisdictions, based on surveys conducted in 110,000 households and 3,000 experts.

The country has had problems for a long time with the eight factors. Why is the rule of law important? The index was initiated by the American Bar Association, which counts prominent legal professionals as honorary chairpersons. The World Justice Project stresses that effective rule of law fights poverty and disease, reduces corruption and protects people from injustice.

The rule of law, the group stresses, underpins development, accountable government and respect for basic rights. It promotes peace and deprives insurgencies of several reasons to advance their causes through armed conflict. If the government is sincere in its effort to bring peace and development especially in conflict areas, it must do more to strengthen the rule of law.

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2018/02/06/1784982/editorial-rule-law-biggest-mover

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People Tell Us They No Longer Believe Philippine Presidential Spokesperson…

The Irish Call It Blarney

Palace downplays China’s ‘almost done’ militarization in South China Sea

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the islands, located off Palawan, were reclaimed during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III. Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday downplayed reports that China is almost done militarizing seven Philippine-claimed reefs in the South China Sea, saying the Chinese built the structures before President Duterte assumed office.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the islands, located off Palawan, were reclaimed during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III.

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Harry Roque

“You know when I saw the headline, yes, it’s a fact perhaps, but is that news? I don’t think so. I think the moment that they start the reclamation, they declared that they will use it, they will have military facilities into the islands,” he added.

“If the Aquino administration was not able to do anything about these artificial islands, what (do) they want us to do? We cannot declare war. Not only is it illegal, but it is also… because it’s impossible for us to declare war at this point,” Roque said in a press briefing.

In 2013, the Aquino administration filed a case with the UN-backed arbitral tribunal based in The Hague contesting China’s massive claim in the South China Sea. Three years later, the tribunal issued a ruling invalidating Beijing’s claim and reaffirming Manila’s maritime entitlements.

But the ruling did not stop China from building artificial islands over Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Burgos (Gaven), Kennan (Hughes), Mabini (Johnson South) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs, which are all within Philippine territory.

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Chinese military bases near the Philippines

Duterte, who has been seeking closer ties with China, has set aside the ruling but promised to bring it up before Chinese leaders within his term. Malacañang has said the Philippines would continue to rely on China’s promise that it would not reclaim new islands.

“Those islands were reclaimed during the time of the former administration. They were complete in fact during the time of the previous administration, and I think whether or not we like it, they intended to use them as military bases,” Roque said.

“So, what do you want us to say? All that we could do is to extract a promise from China not to reclaim any new artificial islands,” he added.

“As I said this militarization, if you can call it militarization, did not happen during the Duterte administration alone. It’s been long militarized and the question is, ‘what can we do?’ What did the past administration do and what can we do?”

Roque said China has not built new artificial islands since Duterte assumed office in 2016. He brushed aside claims that China’s construction activities would allow it to have de facto control of Philippine-claimed islands in the South China Sea.

“I don’t think there’s been an instance when China has curtailed freedom of navigation despite the fact that they have weapons in these reclaimed islands,” the spokesman said.

“We hope not because after all, all countries that (have claims) are under obligation to refrain from the use of force, that is illegal under international law,” he added.

Roque also shrugged off remarks from Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that relying on the good faith of China is like relying on the good faith of a thief.

“This is a democracy, he’s entitled to his opinion. But I would expect that next time, we would read his opinion in the form of a court decision because that’s the function of the judicial branch of government… Or as I said, he could run an elective, legislative position if he wants to make policy for government,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/06/1785089/palace-downplays-chinas-almost-done-militarization-south-china-sea

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Contrary to Roque’s remark, China structures on man-made islands grew under Duterte’s nose

The image shows the Chinese miltiary structures installed on Feiry Cross Reef or Kagitingan Reef. AMTI, File

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday claimed that everything found on reclaimed islands in the West Philippine Sea was already there when President Rodrigo Duterte took over in 2016, but a report released late last year showed that many structures were installed during the current Philippine administration.

Roque also dismissed as not “news” any more a newspaper report on Monday showing that China’s militarization of its artificial West Philippine Sea islands was nearly complete.

“But our position is everything found on these islands were already there when the president took over,” Roque answered in a press briefing in the Palace when asked about installations done under the administration of Duterte.

“As I said this militarization, if you can call it militarization, did not happen during the Duterte administration alone. It’s been long militarized,” Roque said.

RELATED: Fiery Cross Reef transformed into Chinese airbase, says report

However, a report released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative in December last year showed that China continued its construction of infrastructure necessary for fully functioning air and naval bases on its larger outposts.

AMTI said some of the structures that were built since the start of 2017, well into Duterte’s first year in office, range from underground storage areas and administrative buildings to large radar and sensor arrays.

“These facilities account for about 72 acres, or 290,000 square meters, of new real estate at Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs in the Spratlys, and North, Tree, and Triton Islands in the Paracels,” AMTI said in its December 2017 report.

AMTI said that Fiery Cross Reef saw the most construction in 2017 with work on buildings covering 27 acres or about 110,000 square meters.

This work included completion of larger hangars along the airstrip, work on large underground structures south of the island likely to house munitions or other essential materiel, a large communications/sensor array at the northeast of the island, various radar/communications facilities around the island and hardened shelters for missile platforms at the southern end, according to AMTI.

“The large underground tunnels AMTI identified earlier this year as likely being for ammunition and other storage have been completed and entirely buried,” the think tank said.

READ: China defends ‘peaceful construction’ of defense facilities on Fiery Cross

There was also work in 2017 on what appeared to be a high-frequency radar array at the north end of the island, AMTI added.

Work on Subi Reef meanwhile covered 24 acres or 95,000 square meters, according to the think tank, and included buried storage facilities, previously identified hangars, missile shelters, communications facilities and a high frequency “elephant cage” antenna array for intelligence.

There were also new storage tunnels at Subi in 2017, according to AMTI, in addition to buried structures previously made at the north of the island.

China is also poised to “substantially” boost its radar and intelligence capabilities at Subi, according to AMTI, as since mid-2017 it has built a second “elephant cage” as well as an array of radomes on its southern end.

READ: Lorenzana: Philippines to protest China airbase on Fiery Cross Reef

On Mischief Reef, China constructed underground storage for ammunition and other materiel, hangars and missile shelters, new radar and communication arrays and new storage tunnels and started work on a new radar array in 2017, according to AMTI.

“China has continued construction, though on a smaller scale, at its bases in the Paracel Islands. The most significant of this work in 2017 was at North, Tree, and Triton Islands,” it said.

Despite reports on China’s continuing militarization in the disputed waters, the government has insisted that it will not go to war with China and will instead rely on its “good faith.”

“If there is such militarization which China denies… The intent to use or to station military hardware has always been there even before the entry of the Duterte administration,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/05/1784894/contrary-roques-remark-china-structures-man-made-islands-grew-under

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China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines government on China buildup on PH reef: What do you want us to do? — Malacañang portrays itself as helpless in the face of China — Not a violation of China’s “good faith commitment.” — Really? — Something is fishy…

February 5, 2018

(UPDATED) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque again downplays continued militarization by China of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea

Published 3:05 PM, February 05, 2018
Updated 3:39 PM, February 05, 2018

DUTERTE AND CHINA. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is given a tour inside the Chinese Navy vessel Chang Chun where he was able to see the armaments, the deck, the bridge navigation system, and operations room command and control system. Malacañang file photo

DUTERTE AND CHINA. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is given a tour inside the Chinese Navy vessel Chang Chun where he was able to see the armaments, the deck, the bridge navigation system, and operations room command and control system. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malacañang, on Monday, February 5, portrayed itself as helpless in the face of China’s continued construction on Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), a reef that belongs to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“If the Aquino administration was not able to do anything about these artificial islands, what do they want us to do?” asked Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during a Palace news briefing.

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 Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

He was asked what the Philippine government intends to do about the new structures built by China on the reef located in the Spratlys which the Permanent Court of Arbitration, through a landmark ruling, affirmed belongs to the Philippines.

Photos show the reclaimed reef now has a concrete runway, two radomes for radar equipment, two hangars, and a control tower.

Roque said the reclamation of the reefs in the Spratlys began during the administration of Benigno Aquino III and that the government had already known then of China’s plan to build military structures on them.

“I think whether or not we like it, they intended to use them as military bases. So, what do you want us to say? All that we could do is to extract a promise from China not to reclaim any new artificial islands,” said President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman.

Asked if the Philippines intends to file a diplomatic protest against China, Roque was evasive.

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China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, shows Chinese military construction

“In the first place, it did not happen overnight. I think the previous administration must have filed also a protest, when it became apparent that they were going to be used as military bases,” he said.

Roque insisted that the only red flag for Malacañang is if China creates more artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

This despite Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana saying a month ago that even just military buildup on existing artificial islands is a violation of China’s promise.

“I know for a fact that the Chinese government said some time ago that they are not going to militarize those reclaimed islands,” said Lorenzana last January 8.

If it is true and we can prove that they have been putting soldiers and weapons, then it will be a violation of what they said,” he added.

Asked to explain the discrepancy between his remarks and that of the defense chief, Roque said he can only speak for Duterte and not for other Cabinet members.

Options outside of war

This is the second time Roque has downplayed new Chinese construction in the West Philippine Sea. In early January, he also said the transformation of Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) into a Chinese air base was not a violation of China’s “good faith commitment.”

During the Monday briefing, Roque wondered out loud what else the Duterte administration could do in the face of China’s continued construction on reclaimed reefs. He even asked reporters present for suggestions since declaring war against China is “impossible.”

Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had previously outlined 5 steps the Duterte administration could take to deter China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea without going to war.

One of these steps is to file a diplomatic protest. Another is to send the Philippine Navy to patrol features in the EEZ.

Carpio also said the Philippines could ask for the assistance of the United States, possibly in the form of joint naval patrols. He also advised the government to avoid any act or statement that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. (READ: Why Justice Carpio wants China to read his e-book)

Asked about Carpio’s criticism of the Duterte administration’s decision to trust China’s word on its activities in the West Philippine Sea, Roque said it would be better for Carpio to write a relevant court decision or to run for a post in government.

“He could run [for] an elective, legislative position if he wants to make policy for government,” said Roque. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/195287-malacanang-china-buildup-mischief-reef-west-philippine-sea

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China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

China is again exploiting the Philippines

January 18, 2018

Opinion

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

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MANILA, Philippines — China is again exploiting the goodwill of the Philippine government to conduct studies in Philippine seas to discover more areas rich in minerals and gas, a lawmaker warned yesterday.

In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate cautioned the public that with the Duterte administration’s friendly approach to the Chinese, Beijing is using the same modus operandi it employed during the Arroyo administration.

Zarate reminded the public about the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) of Beijing in 2005, wherein Philippine    official position in the disputed West Philippine Sea “jeopardized our claims in the Recto Reed Bank” near the waters off Palawan.

He warned that the JMSU during the Arroyo administration “is bound to happen again in the case of Benham Rise.”

Benham Rise is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf awarded by the United Nations in 2012, which provides Manila the exclusive sovereign rights over it. The area is believed to be rich in minerals and gas.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should rethink its decision to allow Chinese oceanographers to conduct studies in Philippine waters because it is one of the methods they used before under the JMSU that China entered with the Arroyo administration,” Zarate said.

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/15/1777874/chinese-research-benham-rise-slammed#xsQJHeZhvqdsG7lZ.99

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South China Sea and Beyond: Chinese research ship ‘Kexue’ to conduct research in Philippine waters

January 18, 2018

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China research ship Ke Xue

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By Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) – January 18, 2018 – 2:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — China will deploy its most sophisticated research ship to study Philippine waters, including the potentially resource-rich Benham Rise (Philippine Rise).

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) earlier slammed the Department of Foreign Affairs for allowing the Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO-CAS) to conduct research in waters off Eastern Luzon, where Benham Rise is located, and off Eastern Mindanao.

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The Chinese marine exploration will take place on January 24 to February 25 this year.

READ: Alejano: DFA approved Chinese think tank request to study Philippine waters

In a press conference in Beijing last Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed that Chinese research vessel “Kexue” will survey Philippine eastern waters, adding that such a cooperation would further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.

“China commends this decision made by the Philippine side on agreeing to China’s scientific activities and offering facilitation,” Lu said.

“We welcome Philippine scientific research institutions’ participation and would like to work with them to advance maritime practical cooperation in marine research and other fields so as to create a favorable environment for the sound, steady and sustainable development of bilateral ties,” he added.

The $87.5-million Kexue was handed over to IO-CAS in 2012, newspaper China Daily reported. In September 5 last year, Kexue reportedly finished a month-long scientific exploration of the western Pacific Ocean.

Weighing 4,711 tons, China Daily described Kexue as a “moving laboratory on the sea” capable of global voyages and all-day observations.

Kexue can also conduct water body detection, atmospheric exploration, deep-sea environment exploration and remote sensing information verification.

In 2012, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the Philippines’ undisputed claim to the Benham Rise.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed an Executive Order officially renaming Benham Rise to “Philippine Rise” to assert the country’s sovereignty there following reports that Chinese research vessels were spotted surveying the area in 2016.

The Philippine Navy now regularly patrols the continental shelf.

According to Alejano, the Chinese researchers will be joined by the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute “as a requirement.”

Alejano also revealed that a similar plea was lodged by French-based non-profit organization Tara Expeditions Foundation, but it was declined by the DFA.

The lawmaker said Tara Expeditions was a better choice if Manila was seeking additional resources and manpower to study eastern waters, noting that France, unlike China, has no territorial conflict with the Philippines.

For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the law gives equal chance to foreign countries to study Philippine waters as long as there are Filipinos on board.

Foreign marine researchers must also share their findings and data with their Filipino counterparts, Cayetano added.

READ: Cayetano: ‘Same rules for all countries’ seeking to study Philippine waters

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/18/1779010/chinese-research-ship-kexue-conduct-research-philippine-waters#dqq5ep5YZFmOuGUS.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Judge Carpio: Philippines dumb to grant China request to do research in Benham Rise

January 16, 2018

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/24oras/441574/palasyo-umapela-kay-carpio-na-respetuhin-ang-desisyon-ukol-sa-planong-survey-sa-phl-rise/evideo/

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Monday said it would be “dumb” if the Philippine government would allow the request of China to explore the resource-rich Philippine Rise.

“China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal. Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb to grant China’s request,” Carpio said in a 24 Oras report by Raffy Tima.

Magdalo partylist Representative Gary Alejano last week said that he had recieved information that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had granted the request of a Chinese entity to do research in waters off eastern Luzon.

The Philippine Rise, formerly known as the Benham Rise, is located east of Luzon and is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

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In 2012, the United Nations gave the country exclusive sovereign rights over the rise, believed to be rich in minerals and gas.

Chinese vessels were spotted surveying the said area in 2017, prompting the Philippine government to send Beijing a note verbale, seeking clarification as regards the presence of its ships in the resource-rich area.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Carpio should respect the executive branch once a decision was already made.

“Sana respetuhin natin ‘yung separation of powers kapag meron ng kasong nakahain sa kanya,” Roque said.

DFA secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had said “Philippine law says research can be done as along as there is a Filipino on board.”

“So there’s nothing suspicious about approval or disapproval of scientific research whether they’re Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians, Singaporeans. If they comply we will approve, if they do not comply we will not approve,” Cayetano said.

It is the DFA which usually grants applications to conduct research in the area, with coordination from technical agencies depending on the type of research. —Anna Felicia Bajo/NB, GMA News

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/639788/carpio-phl-dumb-to-grant-china-request-to-do-research-in-benham-rise/story/

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Suspicious Chinese activity in Philippine Rise — Duterte administration’s apparently inexhaustible capacity to bend over backward to accommodate Beijing — What do Filipinos get?

January 16, 2018
 / 05:11 AM January 16, 2018
Editorial

Had Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano not raised the issue, the public would not have known that the Department of Foreign Affairs has allowed China — specifically, a research vessel operated by that country’s Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences — to conduct purportedly scientific marine research in Philippine Rise.

Formerly called Benham Rise, the area is a 13-million-hectare underwater plateau in the Philippine Sea, 250 kilometers east of the province of Isabela, that the United Nations officially recognized as part of the Philippine continental shelf in 2012, along with the sovereign rights to explore and exploit resources in it.

Philippine Rise is far from and well outside the waters in the South China Sea almost all of which are claimed by China through its so-called “nine-dash line,” a supposedly historical basis of ownership that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected as without basis in July 2016. That same ruling also declared that Beijing’s actions in the region had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore for resources within its own 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

The same sovereign right by the Philippines exists in Philippine Rise, an area that is incontrovertibly Philippine territory, with no scintilla of ownership dispute and recognized by international law as such.

So what is a Chinese vessel doing in those waters? And why did the DFA grant it permission to conduct research there, considering the testy relations the country has had with China over its island-grabbing in the South China Sea — including islands that have long been part of Philippine territory?

As Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio keenly pointed out: “If a bully has squatted on your front yard and requests to look at your backyard, would you grant the request of the bully?”

More strangely, why was all this kept under wraps by Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano — hidden from public discussion and scrutiny until Alejano’s revelations forced some sort of justification out of him?

Cayetano has defended the Chinese vessel’s incursion into Philippine Rise by saying the law allowed foreign research in Philippine territory so long as a Filipino scientist is aboard the research vessel and the findings of the study are shared internationally.

Carpio said no such local law exists, but Article 246 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) — of which both China and the Philippines are signatories — does call on “coastal states” like the Philippines to, “in normal circumstances, grant their consent for marine scientific research projects by other countries.”

Only the most blinkered observer would deny that Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea and its disrespect for the arbitral court’s ruling have long nullified that condition of “normal circumstances.”

So any hint of interest on its part for—let alone active entry into—another part of the Philippine territory would naturally raise red flags in any reasonable Filipino’s mind. But apparently not in Cayetano’s, or Malacañang’s.

Given his office’s justification for this suspicious Chinese activity in Philippine Rise, Cayetano must be asked: Who, then, is the Filipino scientist aboard the Chinese vessel, whose presence in the ship supposedly was a reason for the permission given? What are the findings of the research vessel so far? Where have these findings been published, who benefits from them, and for what specific ends was the maritime research undertaken?

Unless Malacañang becomes forthcoming and transparent about the tradeoffs it is forging with China for promised loans and assistance, questions like these will continue to point at an inconvenient notion: this administration’s apparently inexhaustible capacity to bend over backward to accommodate Beijing.

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South China Sea: Philippine Judge and Frequent Duterte Critic Likes Progress in Talking To China

November 19, 2017
By:  – Reporter / @MRamosINQ
 / November 18, 2017

Antonio Carpio

The Philippine government’s decision to negotiate with China on its own will not end the protracted territorial claims involving other nations in the South China Sea, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Friday.

Nonetheless, Carpio said President Duterte’s policy shift to engage Beijing in bilateral talks was a “logical step” and a “positive development” in implementing the ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last year.

Besides China and the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia are also insisting ownership over parts of the sea, said to be rich in energy reserves and marine resources.

“Clearly, the South China Sea dispute involves both bilateral and multilateral disputes,” Carpio said in an emailed statement to the Inquirer.

“A bilateral negotiation between China and the Philippines can take up only the bilateral disputes between (both countries) … and not the multilateral disputes involving … other states,” he pointed out.

Carpio, who has been championing the country’s claim to the West Philippine Sea—the part of the South China Sea within the country’s 327-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ)—noted that even nonmembers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) were interested in finding a final solution to the decadeslong sea row.

“The South China Sea dispute also affects nonclaimant states, both within (the) Asean (region) and outside (of it) … These nonclaimant states, which include the US, Japan and Australia, are worried how China’s expansive claim will affect freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, for both commercial and military vessels and aircraft,” he said.

The magistrate noted that Beijing’s disputed nine-dash line asserted ownership of 85.7 percent of the strategic waterway where about $5 trillion in global trade transits every year.

The landmark decision of the international tribunal invalidated China’s nine-dash line and its argument that it had sovereign and historic rights over the disputed sea.

It also upheld the Philippines’ exclusive rights over its EEZ, including Scarborough Shoal, also called Panatag Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc.

According to Carpio, the territorial row involving the Philippines and China is “intimately related to all the multilateral disputes and all the other bilateral disputes” as Beijing’s territorial claims are based on its nine-dash-line policy.

“A bilateral negotiation between China and the Philippines on the enforcement of the arbitral award will be a logical step as the award is binding only between China and the Philippines,” the magistrate said.

“However, this will not resolve the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines. Neither will it resolve the multilateral disputes involving China, the Philippines and other states,” he said.

Carpio, however, said that “any bilateral negotiation between China and the Philippines on the enforcement of the arbitral award is a positive development.”

On Thursday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Mr. Duterte had “articulated preference for bilateral talks rather than multilateral talks in resolving the dispute” when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Vietnam last week.

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‘Never give up honor, sovereignty and sovereign rights’

August 23, 2017

By   – @inquirerdotnet

07:24 AM August 23, 2017

(Editor’s Note: Below is the acceptance speech delivered on Aug. 19 by the Supreme Court senior associate justice on behalf of this year’s recipients of the UP Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards.)

On behalf of this year’s alumni awardees, I wish to thank the board of directors of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association headed by its president, Atty. Ramon Maronilla, for this signal award conferred on us.

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I am sure I speak for all of the awardees here tonight that we are truly honored and humbled by this recognition. We will certainly treasure this award.

Show honor

This year’s theme of the alumni homecoming is “Itanghal ang Dangal” — show honor.

Honor is, of course, the first half of the UP motto—“Honor and Excellence.”

The emphasis on showing honor correctly points out that honor comes before excellence, that there must be honor above all, even as there must be excellence in all that we do.

For excellence without honor is a recipe for national disaster.

A society that has an abundance of excellence but a scarcity of honor is a society in deep trouble.

Excellence without honor creates evil geniuses and develops a culture of greed — all at the expense of the common good.

That is why the university must continuously teach our students, and the alumni must ceaselessly show by example, that there must be honor above all, even as we strive for excellence in all that we do.

Priceless

Honor is priceless, for once it has a price, then it can be for sale.

A nation’s sovereignty and sovereign rights are also priceless. If you put a price tag on our country’s sovereignty or sovereign rights, then another country may buy our country’s sovereignty or sovereign rights.

Our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, like our honor as UP alumni, are priceless. They are not for sale.

Our sovereign rights belong to present and future generations of Filipinos.

The duty of this present generation of Filipinos is to defend and preserve our sovereign rights, and pass on these rights to the next generation for the benefit of all succeeding generations of Filipinos.

No generation of Filipinos, and no individual Filipino, has the right to sell or waive the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. Any such sale or waiver is a betrayal of the nation.

In this battle to defend and preserve our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, we use the most powerful weapon ever invented by man, a weapon that can neutralize warships, warplanes, missiles and nuclear bombs, and that weapon is the rule of law.

Armed solely with this legal weapon, we won a great battle in July 2016 in The Hague at a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) tribunal, which awarded to the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea a vast exclusive economic zone, with an area larger than our total land area.

Next step

The next step is to enforce the award of the tribunal. This involves perseverance, steely determination, and a well-thought-out and carefully crafted long-term strategy.

I have no doubt that if we stay the course, the award of the tribunal will gradually be followed over time because the alternative is the demise of the law of the sea.

If the Unclos cannot apply in the South China Sea, then it cannot apply in the rest of the oceans and seas of the world.

Instead of the rule of law, the rule of the naval cannon will prevail in the oceans and seas.

The world community of civilized nations will not allow this to happen.

And even if we cannot immediately enforce the award because of the overwhelming might of the other side, we still acquit ourselves with respect before future generations of Filipinos because we are doing our duty with honor in accordance with the rule of law.

We would be setting a fine example to future generations of what it means to do our historic duty with honor.

Against all odds

That to me is the true meaning of “Itanghal ang dangal”—show, display and uphold honor against all odds.

Today, we face the gravest external threat to Philippine national security since World War II.

At stake is a huge maritime area rich in fishery, oil, gas and other mineral resources—either we keep this huge maritime area or we lose it to China forever.

The battle for the West Philippine Sea is the modern-day equivalent of the battles that our forebears fought, and even sacrificed their lives, to win and secure our sovereignty on land.

It is the turn of our generation to face the historic duty to defend the sovereign rights of the Filipino people in the sea.

To my fellow alumni of this great university: Never give up your honor, never give up our sovereignty, and never give up our sovereign rights!

Maraming salamat, mabuhay ang Pilipinas, mabuhay ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, mabuhay tayong lahat!

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Related:

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.