Gov’t branches unite to present arbitration case in The Hague

MANILA, July 6 -- The three branches of government have come together to present before the Arbitral Tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands the Philippine’s case against China’s excessive claims in the West Philippine Sea.

The delegation is composed of representative from the executive, legislative and judiciary, Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said in a radio interview Sunday over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“Nagkakaisa ang tatlong sangay ng pamahalaan – Ehekutibo, Lehislatura at Hudikatura – sa pagpapakita ng konkretong pagsuporta sa posisyon ng Republika hinggil sa West Philippine Sea,” Coloma said. “Pormal na bubuksan na sa The Hague, Netherlands ang pagdinig ng Permanent Court of Arbitration sa petisyong inihain ng Pilipinas upang maresolba ang mga maritime entitlement issues na sakop ng United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea o UNCLOS.”

“Namumuno sa delegasyon si Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa para sa Ehekutibo, sina Senate President Franklin Drilon at House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte para sa Lehislatura at sina Supreme Court Justices Antonio Carpio at Francis Jardeleza para sa Hudikatura. Kabilang din sa delegasyon sina Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at Undersecretary for Security Cluster Emmanuel Bautista, at si Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Undersecretary Abigail Valte,” he said.

The hearings, which will be held from July 7 to 13, will determine whether the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea has jurisdiction over the arbitration case filed by Manila.

China has refused to recognize the arbitration proceedings.

Undersecretary Abigail Valte in an earlier interview said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. already traveled ahead to Amsterdam to meet with government lawyers. Solicitor General Florin Hilbay will present the country’s position and will be assisted by the counsels from the Washington DC-based law firm Foley and Hoag, headed by Paul Reichler.

Malacanang is confident that the Arbitral Tribunal will see the merit of the Philippine position which is anchored on the principles of the UNCLOS.

A favorable decision of the tribunal will give the Philippines an opportunity to present its oral arguments with regard to the merits of the petition.

“Nananalig ang pamahalaan sa katuwiran ng posisyon nito na nakabatay sa mga prinsipyo ng UNCLOS. Kung maging pabor sa Pilipinas ang desisyon ng arbitral tribunal, bibigyan ng pagkakataon ang bansa na ihain ang mga oral arguments hinggil sa merito ng petisyon,” Coloma said.
(NRA/MACV/PIA)

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