Last week, Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio pointed out President Rodrigo Duterte’s misstatement regarding China not invading any part of the Philippines’ territory. He reminded Duterte that in 2012, China did seize the Scarborough Shoal, which is rightfully our territory.
Carpio immediately called for the government to correct the President’s lapse in history; because as an expert in international law, he is aware that this statement can be taken against the Philippines.
Carpio has done extensive research regarding the long-running dispute over the West Philippine Sea and was actually a part of those who brought the case of the Philippines to the UN for arbitration.
He laments that Duterte is being “quoted in the Channel News Asia’s article, “Philippines’ Duterte Praises China on Beijing Visit,” posted in its website on 19 October 2016. The statements of President Duterte, as quoted in the article, must be corrected to avoid serious damage to the Philippines.”
Carpio goes on to say that the President is “incorrect” in stating that, ‘It (China) has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.’ He further clarifies, “In 2012 China physically seized and in effect invaded Scarborough Shoal, which is defined as Philippine Territory under Republic Act No. 9522. RA 9522 states that the Philippines has ‘sovereignty and jurisdiction’ over Scarborough Shoal. In 1995 China seized from the Philippines Mischief Reef, which is part of the submerged continental shelf of the Philippines, as affirmed by the Tribunal’s Final Award of July 12, 2016.”
Carpio also explains that China has no historical right over the disputed area because ancient maps indicated that the southernmost territory of China is Hainan Island as compared to ancient maps of the Philippines showing that Scarborough Shoal has been Philippine territory since 1636 and the Spratlys since at least 1690.
Carpio states, “Under international law, unilateral statements of a head of state can bind the state and can be taken against such state in an arbitration between such state and another disputant state; thus the need for the government to issue immediately a correction, lest these statements of President Duterte bind the Philippines.”