Carpio tells Duterte what to do re China in Scarborough Shoal

by ELLEN T. TORDESILLAS / March 20, 2017 / Verafiles

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio reminded Sunday President Duterte of his “constitutional duty”to the Filipino people to defend the country’s national territory and suggested to him four ways he can do it as regards the reported China’s plans to set up an environmental monitoring station in Scarborough Shoal.

This is after the President said he cannot stop China from what it is doing unless he declared war against the behemoth neighbour which he is not willing to do.

In a press conference at the Davao City International Airport, Duterte was asked about a news report that China is planning to build a radar station in Scarborough shoal, 124 nautical miles from Zambales in Luzon.

Duterte replied: “Well, we cannot stop China from doing his thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano (The Americans were not able to stop [them])”

Duterte further said: “So what do you want me to do? What do you want? Sir, ano bang gawin ko? Declare war against China?

“I can but we’ll all lose all our military and policemen tomorrow, and we are a destroyed nation. And we cannot assert even a single sentence of any provision that we signed,” the usually-tough-talking president said.

Carpio, who has worked closely with the Philippine legal team in the case against China in the Arbitral Court, reminded Duterte that, “The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which are expressly tasked by the Constitution to defend the national territory.”

“Under RA No. 9522, Scarborough Shoal is part of Philippine national territory,” he said.

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

1.File a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity.This is the least that the President should do. This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels.

2.Send the Philippine Navy to patrol Scarborough Shoal.If the Chinese attack Philippine navy vessels, then invoke the Phil-U.S. Mutual defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.

3.Ask the United States to declare that Scarborough Shoal is part of Philippine territory for purposes of the Phil-US Mutual Defense Treaty since the shoal has been part ofPhilippine territory even during the American colonial period The U.S. has declared the Senkakus as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.

4.Avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to anyPhilippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.

Any statement that the Philippines cannot stop China from building on Scarborough Shoal actually encourages China to build on Scarborough Shoal.

Reuters reported last Friday about a news item in a Chinese language Hainan Daily quoting Xiao Jie, mayor of Sansha City, about plans to begin preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including Scarborough Shoal.

Sansha city was established only in June 2012 in the province of Hainan. News reports about the creation of Sansha city said it covers “Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.”

The Philippines and Vietnam had protested the inclusion of parts of their territory in the new city.

In its June 2012 note verbale, the DFAsaid the “the establishment of Sansha city as the extent of the jurisdiction of the city violates Philippine territorial sovereignty over the Kalayaan Group and Bajo de Masinloc”

The note verbale also said Sansha City “infringes on Philippine sovereign rights over the waters and continental shelves of the West Philippine Sea.”

China, as expected ignored the protests. Last year, there were already reports about the building of “waste water treatment facilities, garbage collection and transfer stations, and marine environmental monitoring stations” in islands under Sansha City but it did not mention Huangyan , the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc.

A Chinese source said, in the May 13 Hainan Daily report, the mayor said, “We would continuously push through the fundamental pre-works of the environment-monitoring station for the mentioned three islands. “Read more…

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