Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Carpio’

Philippines Prepares Protest vs China Over South China Sea Island Grab

March 21, 2017
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the administration’s planned course of action was in accordance with Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s suggestion that a strong formal protest against Beijing be filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is preparing to formally protest China’s plan to install a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in violation of a ruling by a United Nations-backed international tribunal declaring the shoal a common fishing ground outside any country’s jurisdiction.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the administration’s planned course of action was in accordance with Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s suggestion that a strong formal protest against Beijing be filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague.

“I think so, there will be (a protest to be filed). Medyo malakas-lakas ang ifa-file (A stronger one will be filed),” Aguirre said when asked about the issue in a chance interview.

Aguirre’s statement came on the heels of President Duterte’s voicing helplessness against China’s continued buildup of its forces in waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

But Aguirre assured the public that Duterte is committed to protect and defend the nation’s sovereignty despite the latter’s pronouncement that he could not stop China from building a structure at the shoal. “Definitely, he will not let go of (Panatag shoal),” Aguirre stressed.

“As a matter of fact, we are strengthening the relationship with the US,” Aguirre pointed out, indicating a potential shift from Duterte’s earlier declaration of separation from the US and a pivot to China.

The filing of a protest was among the five-point strategy suggested by Carpio for dealing with China’s reported plan to set up facilities at Panatag shoal.

The SC justice has also suggested sending Philippine Navy vessels to the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he pointed out.

Carpio also stressed the government may ask the US to declare the shoal part of Philippine territory and accept the superpower’s offer to hold joint patrols in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea.

The SC magistrate also advised Duterte to “avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.”

Carpio stressed that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 (Philippine Baselines Law) and that President Duterte has the constitutional duty to defend it from China’s incursion.

He earlier warned that the installation of a radar system at the Panatag shoal will complete China’s air defense identification zone in the South China Sea.

In 2012, the Chinese seized the Panatag Shoal after a tense standoff with Philippine Navy personnel who had tried to arrest Chinese poachers in the area. The poachers were allowed to return to China with their illegal harvest of baby sharks, endangered corals and giant clams. The Chinese have never left the shoal since then.

A ruling in July last year by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague upheld the Philippines’ entitlements in the West Philippine Sea but declared Panatag a common fishing ground. The shoal is only about 230 kilometers from the nearest coast in Luzon and close to 2,700 kilometers from China’s nearest coast in Hainan.

Defending sovereignty

At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella made it clear Duterte has not surrendered the country’s sovereignty over Panatag Shoal or any other area within the country’s EEZ either seized or being coveted by China.

“He has said time and again that he will defend and protect the interests of the Filipino people and will take necessary action at a time most fitting and advantageous to us,” Abella said.

“Furthermore, PRRD has repeatedly asserted that RP is not giving up its claims and our entitlements over the area,” Abella said, referring to Duterte by his presidential initials.

He noted even China has not issued an official stand on reports it was preparing to build a radar station at Panatag Shoal. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), he said, is verifying such reports.

“The DFA is in the process of verifying alleged announcements of proposals to build structures in WPS (West Philippine Sea), since these statements do not reflect the official position of China,” he said.

Duterte earlier declared that the Philippines – with its weak armed forces – cannot stop Beijing from building a radar station at Panatag Shoal.

This prompted Carpio to remind Duterte of his constitutional duty to defend the country from Chinese incursion.

Panatag is part of the national territory, Carpio pointed out, as stipulated under the Philippine Baselines Law.

In his speech in Myanmar Monday, Duterte again ruled out invoking the UN arbitration ruling when dealing with Beijing. But he also vowed to raise the matter if and when China starts extracting mineral resources like oil or uranium in disputed areas.

“Now, if China starts getting oil or uranium or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, I will do something and tell them, ‘We own it. You claim it by historical right, by judgment I won and it’s mine,’” he said.

Duterte also stressed he would not send forces to confront the Chinese in disputed areas to avoid bloodshed.

“First hour, they are finished already. We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” Duterte added.

Not defenseless

Meanwhile, the lawmaker who filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte has asked the President not to portray the country as defenseless against China’s maritime incursion.

“His statement that we cannot do anything is not true. In fact, we have a lot of non-military and non-confrontational options. He just doesn’t want to do them,” Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list group Magdalo said.

During the campaign, then candidate Duterte said if the Chinese intruded into Panatag, he would rush there in a jet ski to confront the intruders.

Alejano has described as “treason” the President’s admission that he had allowed a Chinese research ship to survey Benham Rise, which is part of the country’s territory.

He said Duterte’s statement on China’s building plan at Panatag Shoal “is a defeatist narrative fitting squarely to what China wants us to feel.”

The lawmaker advised the President to listen to Carpio and revisit various recommendations proposed in the past by national leaders and security officials to address Chinese intrusions into Philippine waters.

“He can consult his national security team and other leaders,” he added.

Alejano lamented the Duterte administration is speaking with discordant voices in dealing with China.

He noted that while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has denounced the presence of China’s research ship in Benham Rise, the President admitted he had allowed it without informing his defense chief.

Alejano urged the President to send the Coast Guard or even the Navy to patrol the Panatag Shoal area.

“The shoal is located 230 kilometers from Luzon, while it is 2,659 kilometers away from the Chinese mainland. Logistically, the replenishing of supplies such as food and fuel will be a challenge for China, not so for our troops since it is closer to our shores,” he said.

“We can strategically deploy and train our fishermen to utilize the natural resources in the area. We could provide them with study vessels and advanced communication system so that we could aid or defend them should they be threatened by Chinese ships,” he said.

He said Duterte should learn a lesson or two from Vietnam in protecting the country’s interest.

Alejano recalled that in one confrontation with China near the disputed Paracels, Vietnam lost several troops.

The former Marine captain said the country could also invoke its security alliance with the United States, Japan and Australia.

In case of a shooting war, he said he would be “more than willing to fight for our country.”

The military, for its part, said it is ready to deploy a navy ship – recently acquired from the US – to conduct oceanographic survey of Benham Rise.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office chief, said they are just awaiting a written order from Lorenzana or from the President for the deployment of BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR-702) to Benham Rise.

“We have one survey vessel and the Philippine Navy has the capability to do maritime research, but so far we don’t have the instructions,” Arevalo said. The other survey vessel acquired from the US was BRP Andres Bonifacio.  – With Christina Mendez, Jaime Laude

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/22/1683442/philippines-prepares-protest-vs-china-over-panatag

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 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. Philstar.com/File photo
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MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
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Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
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In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
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“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
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China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
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An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
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In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
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“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
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Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
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Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
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“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
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He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
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 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

Philippine President Duterte Seeking Allies For At Sea Code of Conduct

March 20, 2017
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Duterte is welcomed by his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday. Duterte flew to Bangkok, Thailand last night. AP

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to avoid tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea, President Duterte called for support for the approval of a Code of Conduct (COC) among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s very important for China and the rest of the nations, especially the ASEAN, to come up with a Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Myanmar on Sunday night.

The President also pitched for the COC while he was in Myanmar, which was part of the last leg of his introductory tour of Southeast Asia in the run-up to the ASEAN summit this November in Manila.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by all members of ASEAN and China on Nov. 4, 2002. It lists the principles of self-restraint and non-militarization.

Duterte said he would invoke the arbitral ruling favoring Philippine claims if China starts gathering mineral resources from the disputed areas.

“Kung ang China kukuha na sila ng mga oil o uranium (If China starts getting oil or uranium) or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, kalabitin ko sila (I will do something). Ako man rin ang may-ari niyan (We own it). You claim it by historical right, but by judgment I won and it’s mine,” he said.

But Duterte again admitted that the Philippines cannot stop China from building a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because the Philippine military is no match for Chinese armed forces. And he cannot allow Filipino soldiers to go to disputed areas to avoid casualties.

“First hour pa lang ubos na ‘yun (they are finished already). We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” he added.

Duterte also claimed that the United States is also “scared” of China.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, sa umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na (We cannot stop China. Even the Americans cannot stop it. In the first place, from the start America did not respond, they got scared right away),” he said.

He noted that what the Philippines has right now are only entitlements.

“Just entitlement, not territory. I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters. But what we are trying to achieve is that we are also recognized to own the entitlements,” he said.

“The structures have nothing to do with the economic zone. It might impede but actually it’s a construction that would disturb the navigation of the sea,” he added.

Despite China’s excessive claims, Duterte said he is working to further bolster economic and trade ties between Manila and Beijing.

Defend Panatag

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded Duterte that he has the constitutional duty to defend Panatag Shoal from Chinese incursion.

Carpio also formulated a five-point strategy on how the Duterte administration can respond to China’s reported plan to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.

The magistrate explained that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 or Philippine Baselines Law and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”

But he stressed that since the Philippines cannot match the military power of China, Duterte may opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty as president.

First, Carpio suggested that the government should file a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels,” he added.

The PCA ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea. The justice said the government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he suggested.

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Philippines: Supreme Court Associate Justice reminds President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid waiving Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory

March 20, 2017
By: – Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 12:51 PM March 20, 2017
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Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
A Filipino fishing vessel ventures into the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —REM ZAMORA

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid any statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

“This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their natural patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.

Carpio’s statement came after Duterte said he cannot stop China from implementing its plan to build structures on the disputed Panatag Shoal for now.

In 2012, China seized Panatag Shoal or the Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff between Chinese and Filipino vessels. China denied Filipino fishermen access to Scarborough’s rich fish stock.

Filipinos have been able to go back to Scarborough after Duterte reached out to Beijing and restored good diplomatic ties, which were damaged when President Benigno Aquino III tried to forcefully enforce Philippine authority on the shoal.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries.

Duterte said if the US was not able to stop China, what could the Philippines do?

Carpio said Duterte was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which is tasked by the Constitution to defend the country’s territory.

He pointed out that under Republic Act 9522 or the Philippines’ Baseline Law, Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippine territory.

Carpio said since the Philippines was no match to China militarily, the President could fulfill his constitutional duty by doing any, some or all of the following:

  • File a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity.

“This is the least that the President should do,” Carpio said.

Carpio said that is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels.

  • Send the Philippine Navy to patrol Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said if the Chinese attack the Philippine navy vessels, the country can invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.

  • Ask the United States to declare that Scarborough Shoal is part of Philippine territory for purposes of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty since the shoal has been part of  Philippine territory even during the American colonial period.

The high court’s Senior magistrate and an expert in the maritime dispute with China said “the US has declared the Senkakus as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.”

  • Accept the standing US offer to hold joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, which includes Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said “this will demonstrate joint Philippine and US demonstration to prevent China from building on Scarborough Shoal.”

Aquino earlier tried to use the Navy to assert the rights of the Philippines over Scarborough, but China responded by sending more of its ships to the shoal.

China also began building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, which is reportedly already being militarized by Beijing.

The US has conducted patrols and freedom of navigation exercises in the West Philippine Sea but has not stopped China from reportedly arming its artificial islands. CBB/rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/882226/carpio-cautions-duterte-on-statements-about-west-philippine-sea#ixzz4bqE16wZP
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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Duterte’s Waters — In The South China Sea: Philippines Gets Short-Term Gain But Has China Achieved Long-Term Aim?

November 4, 2016

The Economist

Filipino fishermen return to waters disputed with China
Nov 5th 2016 | From the print edition
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LIKE the dog that didn’t bark in the night, Chinese coastguard vessels around one tidal atoll in the South China Sea have recently distinguished themselves through inaction. For the past four years—ever since Philippine naval inspectors tried to arrest some Chinese fishermen for illegally harvesting endangered species—Chinese ships have blocked Filipino fishermen from plying their trade near Scarborough Shoal. This week, however, Philippine television has shown fishermen returning from the shoal grinning, their boats full.
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After China began its blockade, the president of the day, Benigno Aquino, filed a complaint against it at an international tribunal in The Hague, which ruled in the Philippines’ favour earlier this year. The shoal, after all, is only some 220km from the Philippine mainland, within its exclusive economic zone, but almost 900km from China. Mr Aquino also signed an Enhanced Defence Co-operation Agreement (EDCA) with America, which lets American troops operate out of five Philippine military bases. He called for a military response from America were China to begin building on the shoal—as it has on several other disputed reefs and islets in the South China Sea.

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.Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing last week.
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

 

In June, however, Rodrigo Duterte replaced Mr Aquino as president, and changed course abruptly. He has announced an end to joint Philippine-American military exercises and threatened to abrogate the EDCA. To drive this shift home, on a state visit to China two weeks ago, he announced his “separation” from America, and told his hosts: “I have realigned myself in your ideological flow…I will be dependent on you for all time.”

Following this display of fealty, China promised billions of dollars in loans and investment, and ended its blockade of Scarborough. The message for the other South-East Asian nations with competing claims in the South China Sea could not be clearer: accept China’s sovereignty and riches will follow. Najib Razak, Malaysia’s embattled prime minister, turned up in Beijing this week cap in hand.

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Not only has Mr Duterte completely undermined America’s efforts to preserve a united front by other littoral states against China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, he has also saved Xi Jinping, China’s leader, from a dilemma. After the adverse ruling from the tribunal, hardliners in China, especially in the military, were urging Mr Xi to hit back by, for example, building an air strip on Scarborough Shoal. Others argued that his tough line was already too risky, so he should adopt a more emollient approach. Thanks to Mr Duterte, China has got most of what it wanted—most notably, bilateral talks, which it has long asked for but the Philippines had rejected—without lifting a finger.

Nonetheless, China should be wary of interpreting Mr Duterte’s enthusiasm for Chinese investment as acquiescence. A justice on the Philippine supreme court has warned Mr Duterte that ceding the shoal would be unconstitutional, and thus an impeachable offence. Among Filipinos, America remains broadly popular, and China broadly loathed. And while Mr Duterte is telling the Chinese leadership what they want to hear, he has said seemingly contradictory things in Japan and Vietnam, both of which also have maritime disputes with China.

In Vietnam Mr Duterte stressed the need for maritime “freedom of navigation and overflight [and] unimpeded commerce…particularly in the South China Sea”. A joint statement in Japan emphasised respect for the UN treaty on which the tribunal’s ruling on Scarborough Shoal was based. China, for its part, may also be double-dealing: it seems to be letting Filipinos fish around the atoll, but not inside the huge lagoon it forms, as they used to.

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21709592-filipino-fishermen-return-waters-disputed-china-duterte-waters

Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. Photo Credit ESTRELLA TORRES. Judge Carpio is the justice referred to in the article above.

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Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel

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   (From July 12, 2016)

 (This    article has links to several  others related to environmental issues in the South China Sea).

 (Has links to many related conservation and environmental articles)

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Above Chinese chart shows China’s “Nine Dash Line.” China says it owns all ocean territory north of the Nine Dash Line. There is no international legal precedent for this claim.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid.

China will consider giving Filipino fishermen conditional access to Scarborough Shoal

October 19, 2016

BEIJING — China will consider giving Filipino fishermen conditional access to disputed waters in the South China Sea after the presidents of the two countries meet in Beijing this week, two Chinese sources with ties to the leadership said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to raise the plight of Filipino fishermen when he meets his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Thursday, a Philippine official told Reuters.

China seized Scarborough Shoal – claimed by Beijing as Huangyan island and by Manila as Panatag – in 2012, denying Philippine fishermen access to its rich fishing grounds.

The seizure formed part of a case the Philippines took to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which in July rejected China’s territorial claims over much of the South China Sea, including its assertion of a 200-mile (320 km) exclusive economic zone around the disputed Spratly Islands.

China immediately declared the ruling “null and void” but said it was time to get talks started again between the countries directly involved in the territorial disputes to reach a peaceful resolution.

Arriving at his hotel in Beijing, Duterte told reporters he expected to achieve “plenty of happiness for my country” during his trip to China.

Asked about the South China Sea dispute, he said: “No, that is not one of the topics on the agenda. It might crop up but it is going to be a soft landing for everyone. No impositions.”

“EVERYBODY CAN GO”

Beijing is now considering making a concession to Duterte, whose rapprochement with China since taking office on June 30 marks an astonishing reversal in recent Philippine foreign policy.

“Everybody can go, but there will be conditions,” one of the Chinese sources who speaks regularly with senior officials told Reuters, referring to Chinese and Filipino fishermen.

Asked what the conditions were, the source said: “The two countries would have to form working groups to iron out details.”

It was unclear, however, if China would agree to joint coastguard patrols.

The sources did not say what, if anything, China might demand from Manila in exchange for the fishing concession.

“It will be a return to the Arroyo days,” the second Chinese source said, referring to the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001-2010), when fishermen from both countries had access to waters near Scarborough Shoal.

If all goes according to script, fishery cooperation would be one of more than 10 broad framework agreements the two countries would sign during Duterte’s visit, the sources said, without giving further details.

The Philippine foreign ministry said it had “no comment at this time”.

FREE NAVIGATION

China has overlapping claims in the South China Sea with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The United States, along with Japan and other powers, want to ensure Beijing doesn’t interfere with free navigation in the strategic South China Sea, which connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans and through which flows $5 trillion of trade a year.

U.S. Navy ships have conducted “freedom of navigation” operations around artificial islands China has been building in the disputed Spratly Islands, which mostly consist of coral reefs and tidal features in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not answer directly, when Reuters asked on Tuesday whether China would offer any concessions to the Philippines on the South China Sea, including fishing rights around Scarborough Shoal.

“China’s position on the South China Sea is clear and consistent. There is no change and there will be no change. This position accords with historical facts and international law,” Wang said at a news conference with his New Zealand counterpart.

“HISTORIC VISIT”

Wang, however, was upbeat about Duterte’s trip.

“This will be a historic visit and a new beginning in China-Philippines relations,” the foreign minister said.

China’s ambassador to Manila, Zhao Jianhua, said last Friday a budding bilateral friendship could boost chances of removing one of their biggest bones of contention in the South China Sea.

But on Sunday, Duterte said he would raise the Hague ruling and vowed not to surrender any sovereignty, comments that will not sit comfortably with Beijing.

Philippine Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio warned that Duterte could be impeached if he gives up the country’s sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal, according to Philippine media.

China’s objective is to jointly develop resources in the South China Sea with its neighbours, said Lu Xiang, an international relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank. “Disputes with any neighbour are not conducive for China,” he said, when asked what China wanted in exchange for any concession to Duterte.

“We need a better external environment,” Lu said.

(Additional reporting by Natalie Thomas; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

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Philippines: Supreme Court judge says Ferdinand Marcos “dishonorably discharged by the people through a revolution in 1986” — Says No to Burial in Place of Honor

August 31, 2016
In this July 15, 2016 file photo, Antonio Carpio, senior associate justice of the Supreme Court, expounds his views on the ruling by the Hague-based United Nations international arbitration tribunal favoring the Philippines in its case against China on the South China Sea during a forum. AP/Bullit Marquez, file

MANILA, Philippines — The late strongman Ferdinand Marcos as the commander-in-chief was dishonorably discharged by the people through a revolution in 1986, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio argued on Wednesday.

In questioning lawyer Neri Colmenares, among the petitioners opposing the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Carpio said Marcos as the head of state was also the highest military official and may have forfeited his entitlement to be buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery, considered a national shrine.

“President Marcos was dishonorably separated from the people in 1986,” Carpio said at the oral arguments’ first session.

The magistrate said that public funds and properties, such as the cemetery, should only be used for public purposes and for the people’s “general welfare.”

 

“But if a person has been dishonorably discharged from service and you bury him there in a government property, that is for a private purpose, to extol honor for the family or the person, not for the public, there is no public good there,” Carpio added.

The president can amend the directive, insofar as it does not amend a law or runs contrary to the Constitution.

“He can amend it, but as we argued, the standards in RA 289 will be incorporated in his new directed, in this case Marcos is still disqualified, your honor,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares agreed with Carpio’s arguments, saying President Rodrigo Duterte can amend or scrap existing circulars or memoranda in ordering Marcos’ burial at the site, but he cannot violate “standards” under Republic Act 289 (RA 289) on the construction of national pantheons for Philippine presidents and patriots.

“The petitioners’ contention (is) that RA 289 has a standard, the president’s directive cannot amend RA 289 and must also be struck down, your honor,” the former Bayan Muna party-list representative said.

RA 289 states that a national cemetery is to “perpetuate the memory” of Philippine presidents, patriots and heroes “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”

Colmenares said Marcos’ burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery is not worthy of “inspiration and emulation” given the human rights abuses and plunder during his term.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, meanwhile, joined the online conversation on the ongoing arguments, saying Marcos does not fit the law’s description.

“It’s not whether Marcos is a hero. It’s whether he isn’t. ‘Worthy of emulation’ is a negative, checking standard. Law and cases show he isn’t,” Hilbay said on Twitter.

Duterte said Marcos can be granted final interment at the Heroes’ Cemetery for being a former soldier or president regardless of human rights violations during the martial law period he oversaw.

President duterte photographed by Lyn Rillon

Interment policy for the Libingan ng mga Bayani under the Armed Forces of the Philippines grants space for soldiers, presidents and other dignitaries. The same policy, however, prohibits interment of those who were “dishonorably separated or reverted or discharged from service” and on the grounds of moral turpitude. — Camille Diola; Audio report by Efigenio Toledo IV

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/08/31/1619076/marcos-dishonorably-discharged-commander-chief-argues-justice-carpio

Philippines Says It Won’t Sacrifice Sea Feud Victory in China Talks — What is Duterte government talking to China about?

July 15, 2016

The Associated Press
July 15, 2016

© PCOO/AFP/File | Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he will send a former president Fidel Ramos to China to start talks on the ruling on the disputed claims of the South China Sea from The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine solicitor general says the government will fight for the country’s landmark victory in arbitration to be upheld when it talks to China about their disputes in the South China Sea.

Solicitor General Jose Calida disclosed the Philippine position on Friday. The position runs against that of China, which ignored the ruling and opposes use of the decision as basis for any negotiations.

The decision handed down Tuesday by the tribunal in The Hague invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea as sought by the Philippines based on a U.N. treaty that governs the world’s oceans.

New President Rodrigo Duterte has been more reconciliatory to China that his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who filed the case against Beijing in 2013, straining relations.

Related:

 (China’s government needs to save face with the Chinese people or admit the long lasting lies)

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 (Contains many links and references)

South China Sea: Philippines says no concession to China — Time to implement the international tribunal ruling

July 15, 2016

AFP

© PCOO/AFP/File | Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he will send a former president to China to start talks on the ruling on the disputed claims of the South China Sea from The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines will concede nothing to China as it seeks to implement an international tribunal ruling against Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea, its top lawyer said Friday.

The UN-backed tribunal on Tuesday ruled against China but Beijing rejected the decision, warning of a “decisive response” to provocative actions against its security interests based on the verdict.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced late Thursday he would send a former president, Fidel Ramos, to China to start talks on the ruling of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Manila’s top government lawyer, Jose Calida, stressed Friday there would be no concessions to China.

“We value the award given by the (tribunal), and the Philippines will not concede any of the awards given to us,” Calida said, using the legal term for the ruling.

The tribunal found there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in areas falling within its nine-dash line, which is based on a vague map that emerged in the 1940s.

The nine-dash line overlaps with waters also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The tribunal also ruled Beijing had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights to exploit resources in waters up to 340 kilometres (230 miles) beyond its coast, called its exclusive economic zone.

China had built artificial islands atop seven reefs in the area, inflicting severe environmental damage, the tribunal said.

“We will use diplomacy. I believe this is the most peaceful way of settling this,” Calida said, adding Duterte had set no timeframe for achieving results.

“We will be patient of course and hopefully China will show the same grace that we have shown,” Calida added.

Duterte, who took office on June 30, has said he wants better relations with China and to attract Chinese investment for major infrastructure projects.

Ramos, who served as president from 1992 to 1998, is also known to favour close ties with China. However he has yet to accept the mission.

Sino-Philippine relations plummeted over the maritime row under Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino, whose government filed the arbitration case in 2013.

Senior Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio warned Friday it would be illegal for Manila to jointly develop with China or any other country the resources in the areas adjudicated as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Carpio, a member of the Philippine team that brought the suit against China, told a public forum the Filipino constitution reserved the “use and enjoyment” of the resources in this vast maritime zone exclusively to Filipinos.

But he said Manila may engage foreign entities as contractors to extract or develop these resources.

In response, Calida said: “Certainly we will not do something illegal or unconstitutional”.

Related:

 (China’s government needs to save face with the Chinese people or admit the long lasting lies)

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Philippine President Duterte Asks Former President Fidel Ramos To Travel To China To Begin Talks On The “Way Ahead” in the South China Sea

July 14, 2016
Former president Fidel Ramos has been asked by President Duterte to fly to China to begin talks with Chinese officials. Patricia Lourdes Viray

Philippines to push respect for sea ruling

MANILA, Philippines – Former president Fidel Ramos has been asked by President Duterte to fly to China to begin talks with Chinese officials, two days after an international tribunal ruled that Beijing’s expansive territorial claim in the South China Sea has no legal basis.

Duterte said last night the interest of the Philippines and its allies would be considered as they strive to settle the territorial row through diplomacy.

“War, it’s not an option,” Duterte said during a testimonial dinner in his honor organized by the San Beda College Alumni Association at Club Filipino in San Juan.

“(We will go for) peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithal now. I want to consult many people, including president Ramos… I would like to respectfully ask him to go to China and start the talks,” he added.

In an interview with reporters, Ramos said he would have to study Duterte’s request.

“This is not to show disrespect to the President but you have to consider my increasing age. But I can do the job. However, I have bigger commitments  in terms of peace in the world and sustainable development,” he said.

Despite his openness to talk to China, Duterte said he would not want to offend the United States, the Philippines’ treaty ally. The US has vowed to remain neutral in the maritime dispute but has repeatedly scored China’s aggressive actions and reclamation in the South China Sea.

“We have allied ourselves with the western powers. So there’s an interest which we should not forget. Our interest and the interest of our allies,” Duterte said.

The Philippines, meanwhile, will raise before a gathering of world leaders in Mongolia today the urgency of a peaceful and rules-based approach to settling the South China Sea row.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. will represent Duterte in the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit where the Philippine delegation will also call on parties in the maritime dispute to respect the July 12 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidating China’s massive claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea. The event will be held in Ulaan Baatar.

Explaining Duterte’s decision to skip the summit, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the President wishes “to stay close to his countrymen in the first few months of his presidency.”

The ASEM Summit – involving 51 countries – is the first major gathering of leaders after the release of the verdict of the arbitral court on the three-year-old case filed by Manila contesting Beijing’s nine-dash line claim.

China on Monday said the South China Sea issue should not be discussed in ASEM.

Duterte warned that complications might arise if China insists on imposing an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea. He said restricting freedom of navigation would also have a negative impact on the country’s economy.

“If (the sea lanes) are closed, (prices of) everything will go up because the insurance of cargoes, boats and ships there will rise. It will create another problem for our economy,” the President said.

“We have to be careful,” he added.

Yasay will also discuss Duterte’s priorities and key socio-economic policies in ASEM.

On the sidelines of the summit, the DFA chief will have bilateral meetings with his counterparts to exchange views on global and regional issues.

The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and socio-cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

The ASEM Summit is held every two years, with the previous one held in Milan, Italy in 2014. The Philippines is a founding member of ASEM, established in 1996.

In October 2014 in Italy, China reportedly exerted pressure on many ASEM member-countries to make them avoid the South China Sea issue.

With the victory in The Hague giving the Philippines a better negotiating position with China, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government is now inclined to explore bilateral talks with the Asian giant.

“Don’t taunt your opponent who is already down,” Diokno said in Filipino, referring to China’s legal debacle in The Hague. “The more difficult aspect of the decision is the enforceability. Let’s be magnanimous in victory,” he quoted the President as saying.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the Cabinet discussed all of the country’s possible responses to the PCA ruling and came up with a decision to go for talks.

“We have to talk with China. We could not avoid it,” Aguirre told members of the Malacañang Press in a Viber message yesterday.

Diokno said the President was very clear in his statement on initiating bilateral talks as the country is “starting from a better position because of that decision, kasi nasa tamang lugar tayo (because we are in the right).”

He added he has no idea as to when the talks would start but that the Palace is “already working on it.”

Warning

But as the Duterte administration has voiced its openness to bilateral talks with China, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is strongly warning against pursuing joint exploitation of resources in the West Philippine Sea with Beijing.

The magistrate stressed the Constitution clearly prohibits sharing of development of areas within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with other nations.

“The Constitution said the exclusive economic zone is part of the national territory and that it should be for the enjoyment and exploitation exclusively of ours alone. We cannot enter into joint development within the EEZ,” Carpio said yesterday on ANC’s “Headstart.”

The senior magistrate explained the country can engage other countries in developing or exploiting the EEZ but that they can only act as contractor and not as a sovereign entity.

“They (China) can enter as contractor but not as a sovereign agreement because that is prohibited by the Constitution. Even without the ruling of the arbitral tribunal, the EEZ is exclusively ours. We can ask other countries if they have the technology but we don’t give up our sovereign rights because the Constitution prohibited that,” he explained.

In its arbitral award last Tuesday, the PCA declared Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank as “part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines, and are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”

Still, Carpio believes the move of the administration of President Duterte to initiate bilateral talks with China could be a viable tool for forging better relations.

“We have now a ruling that says Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground of Filipino and Chinese fishermen. So both can fish there,” the magistrate explained in a separate interview.

“This is from an international tribunal, a convention to which China has ratified. So we have to talk to China, establish protocols so we can fish in peace,” Carpio suggested.

Carpio, a member of the legal team that presented the Philippines’ case before the tribunal, said a possible bilateral agreement with China would be the most logical option for the government to effect an enforcement of the award.

“We have to talk to China to now allow us to go there (Scarborough Shoal) because the tribunal said we have a tradition fishing right together with Chinese fishermen,” he explained.  – With Alexis Romero, Giovanni Nilles, Edu Punay

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/15/1602977/rody-asks-fvr-start-talks-china