China to ignore ICC case vs Xi Jinping

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2019   •   3486

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the first meeting of the French-Chinese business council in Beijing, China, January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Beijing has no plans of answering the complaint filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping by two former Philippine officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Chinese Embassy in Manila said.

Chinese Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tan Qingsheng said in a recent media interview that the Chinese government will just ignore the complaint as it did not represent the view of the Philippines.

Last March 13, 2019, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales sent a communication to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are accusing Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity over Beijing’s alleged continued reclamation and militarization in the disputed waters, depriving Filipino fishermen of food and livelihood.

Tan said the complaint filed by two former high-ranking Philippine officials will not hinder the development of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China.

Tan also reiterated China’s commitment to promote peace and stability in the region and in addressing differences and disputes through bilateral consultations.

But Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales said on Friday (March 22) that China should take the complaint seriously.

“I think if I were China, I would take this seriously because this is not our first encounter with them. It’s our second encounter and we are very serious about winning this encounter as well,” Del Rosario said.

He was referring to the Manila’s legal challenge against Beijing’s territorial claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013. The tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week expressed confidence that the ICC case against Xi will not jeopardize Manila’s ties with Beijing.

He also said that Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are entitled to file the case as the Philippines is a democratic country, but whether or not the case would prosper or if the ICC has the jurisdiction is another story.

READ: Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

Malacañang also respects the former officials’ decision to file the complaint but it believes that the case will not prosper.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Saturday that the filing may also be a futile exercise as the ICC has no jurisdiction over China. Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario also have no authority to lodge a case against China on behalf of the Philippines.

“It could be dismissed because China is not a member of the ICC, so is the Philippines,” Panelo said.

“Even if they are so authorized, still since our position is that the ICC has never acquired jurisdiction over us, given that the Rome statute never took effect as the requirement of publication in a newspaper of general circulation or in the Official Gazette was not complied with, which publication is a requirement in our jurisdiction before the said Rome Statute or any law for that matter becomes effective and enforceable,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the complaint against Xi for environmental damage in the South China Sea is not within the Rome Statute.

“Hence, even assuming that the Philippines was a State Party when the complaint was filed, there could be an issues as regards the jurisdiction of the ICC,” he said.

Panelo also believes that the possible dismissal of the case will be used by the administration’s foes to further criticize the President.

“The critics and detractors will have a field day criticizing the President in the event the case is dismissed by the ICC for lack of jurisdiction. They can claim that it was a mistake for the Philippine government to withdraw its membership from the Rome Statute as the ICC can no longer serve as a venue to prosecute President XI for an alleged commission of crime against humanity,” he said.

“We do not need the help or disturbance of a biased tribunal known to politically prosecute heads of state, the very reason why powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia, and Israel, to name only a few, have either withdrawn their membership as State Parties from the Rome Statute or declined to be members of the ICC,” Panelo added.

READ: Analyst: ICC Case vs China’s Xi Jinping faces challenges

A maritime analyst said last week that the case against Xi is facing many challenges, including the issue on ICC’s jurisdiction over China and the Philippines. – Robie de Guzman

PH 100% ready to host 2019 SEA Games – Cayetano

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who also heads the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), announced that the country is now 100 percent ready to host the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November.

After inspecting the sports complex in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Wednesday, Cayetano said the facilities to be used for the event have been completed.

“We are 100% ready. Now ang challenges natin ay ‘yung day-to-day. Remember, you’ll have more than 20,000 people, you’ll have 56 sports and around 500 events, so, handling all of these, the traffic, ‘yung food, ‘yung pangangailangan ng athletes, angal ng mga coaches, tapos may mga royalty and head of states… so it’s really the 11 days.

The Philippines will host the SEA Games from November 30 to December 11, 2019. Around 12,000 athletes and their coaches, 1,000 international media members, 15,000 volunteers, and spectators, among others are expected to participate and watch the games.

It is said to be the biggest SEA Games yet as it features 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues. Although these events will be conducted in various parts of Luzon, a bulk of these tournaments will be held in Metro Manila.

Cayetano said they are now finalizing details for various aspects of the event, including logistics and security, to ensure that all aspects of the SEA Games would be properly handled.

He added they have been conducting several rehearsals and walkthroughs to anticipate possible issues that may be encountered throughout the biennial meet.

“Ang nangyayari ngayon rehearse nang rehearse, practice nang practice, meet nang meet. Yung walkthrough importante kasi hindi mo naman makikita ang problema nang hindi muna dinadaanan,” Cayetano said.

“Sa airport lang eh, halos sabay sabay dadating yung mga delegates. Remember, we have to treat the athletes well at ayaw nating ma-accuse na na-hassle sila kaya naapektuhan ang performance nila,” he added.

He also noted that most hurdles faced during the preparations were caused by the budget delay but these have already been addressed through the initiative of the event sponsors and contributions in cash and in kind from private groups.

Cayetano also admitted that heavy traffic, especially in the venues of sporting events in Metro Manila, will be a big challenge during the SEA Games but he assured that the security group is working on a plan to ensure the comfort and convenience of all guests and participants.

They are also eyeing the possibility of declaring holidays in certain cities as well as the closing lanes in several roads to ease the volume of vehicles.

“We have to show the 10 other countries participating yung Filipino hospitality. On one sense we are competitors. We want to win, and win as one. We want to be the overall champion, but we want to win it fairly and squarely. So yung preparations, especially sa athletes, coaches and technical officials ay napaka-importante,” he said.

Duterte admits asking PNOC-EC chief to resign due to ‘idiotic contract’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019

(L-R) PNOC-EC president Pedro Aquino Jr. and President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he had asked the president and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation Pedro Aquino Jr. to resign due to questionable contracts with a Russian oil firm.

During his speech at a business forum on Thursday (October 17), the president criticized Aquino for his “idiotic contract”.

“Here is a guy who prepared a contract with the Russians and the Russians thought that it—that was all there is to it,” he said. “He wanted now the Board of Trustees to ratify what he prepared.”

“Sabi ko, ‘Ano iyong kalokohan mo na baliktad? (I said, ‘What foolishness is this’?) Given the power to draft, to prepare—to what not, and then after that, have it approved by the Board of Directors. Baliktad ang gusto mo (You want it reversed). You want the Board of Directors to ratify your idiotic contract,’” the president said.

Aquino tried to strike a deal with a Russian oil firm without the approval of the board of trustees.—ACC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on Espenido’s assignment: ‘Bacolod is badly hit now’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has assigned Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido to Bacolod City because the city is “badly hit” by illegal drugs.

The deployment of Espenido was announced on Thursday (October 17), during the President’s speech at the 45th Business Conference and Expo in Manila.

“Bacolod is badly hit now and I placed Espenido there, iyong tinatakutan nila na pulis, (the police who is feared)” he said. “Sabi ko (I said), ‘Go there and you are free to kill everybody.’ T*** i**** iyan. ‘Go, start killing them.’”

Espenido, who was recently promoted from the rank of major to lieutenant colonel, faced controversies after the illegal drug operation in 2016.

In November 2016, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed in the custodial facility during the service of a warrant. Meanwhile in 2017, Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 other men were killed during a police operation.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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