Philippines can't be compelled to abandon Hague ruling, says Palace
Malacañang vowed on Friday that the Philippines could not be compelled by any country to abandon The Hague ruling in the South China Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said President Rodrigo Duterte has no authority to "set aside" the arbitral ruling just to get Chinese President Xi Jinping's approval for the joint oil and gas exploration in the disputed waters with the Philippines getting the 60 percent share while 40 percent for China.
"For the umpteenth time, we reiterate that what the President means when he said that we will first set aside the ruling to come up with a viable economic activity in the West Philippine Sea is that - we would, in the meantime, divert our focus to something that would benefit our country in the midst of the impasse with China on our territorial dispute. That is not to say, however, that we will totally forget about the said ruling and waive our sovereign rights as laid out therein," said Panelo in a statement.
He reiterated that diplomatic negotiations to resolve the conflicting claims of the countries have been ongoing as government officials have been mandated to continue invoking the Philippine claims over the exclusive economic zone as against the position of China.
"The Philippine government, as a matter of policy and principle, continues to assert its rights over the West Philippine Sea, and this, despite whatever reluctance or objections there may be on the part of China in recognizing our rights over our exclusive economic zone therein," he said.
"If there is no force in the meantime in any part of the world that the arbitral ruling can be enforced, neither is there any force on earth that can compel or intimidate the Philippines into abandoning or waiving it," said Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel.
Carpio, in a statement, has warned any acquiescence or implied consent of the Philippine government relating to South China Sea could result in the loss of its sovereign rights under the arbitral ruling.
“The Duterte administration, and the Filipino people, must always be vigilant to avoid such acquiescence or implied consent," he said.
"The good Justice can rest assured that the President is always finding ways to resolve the dispute and will not waive any right nor give any consent that will undermine our sovereign claims in the process," Panelo said. Celerina Monte/DMS