Justice Carpio inhibits from West Philippine Sea case
Marje Pelayo • July 2, 2019 • 945
MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Tuesday (July 2) inhibited from the petition seeking government protection to marine resources in the West Philippine Sea.
Carpio’s inhibition came hours before the scheduled oral arguments this afternoon on the writ of kalikasan petition filed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Palawan fisherfolks.
Carpio announced his decision during the Supreme Court (SC) en banc’s (full court) session this morning in which his colleagues accepted.
“There is no compulsory ground to inhibit, but I voluntarily inhibited for the peace of mind of the SolGen,” he said.
Carpio’s decision came the day after Solicitor General Jose Calida petitioned for his inhibition from the case due to issue of partiality. – with details from Mai Bermudez
The Department of National Defense (DND) on Sunday (November 3) downplayed reports in certain news outlets that a commercial vessel with Filipino crew aboard, the “Green Aura”, was repeatedly challenged by Chinese Coast Guard vessels near Bajo de Masinloc on September 30, 2019.
In a statement, the DND said, “Since the Green Aura, a Liberian ship, was able to safely reach its intended port of destination unimpeded, we believe that what happened should not be blown out of proportion or sensationalized.”
The defense department further said that an official report of the incident has been forwarded to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) for its appropriate action.
The DND has also reiterated its call “for all countries to exercise prudence and respect freedom of navigation and passage in the WPS.”
It stressed that Bajo de Masinloc is well within the Philippine EEZ and that the 2016 arbitral ruling declared it as a common fishing area.
The DND also called on the Chinese government to “respect international maritime laws if it wants to earn the respect of the international community.” (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in China on Wednesday evening (August 28) for a three-day working visit and meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Palace is confident that China will hear the President once he opens up The Hague’s arbitral ruling over the territorial dispute in the West Philippines Sea considering the solid bond that the two countries have already established.
The discussion, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, aims to prevent further escalation of tension and violence at sea due to the decade-long maritime dispute.
“I think China will have an open ear, after all they kept on saying that we’re friends and friends can always talk on anything,” Panelo said.
“Moreover, it’s really about time to talk about it since if the concern is maritime security, and peace in the region, then they really have to talk because this has been a source of some irritants between the two countries as well as other countries,” he added.
Also, included in the agenda of the President’s visit is the proposed joint exploration with China in the WPS under the ’60-40 sharing scheme.’ This means that the Philippines will get 60% of the profit while China will receive the remaining 40%.
“It’s mutually beneficial because both countries are agreeing on a modus vivendi with respect to the exploitation of natural resources,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang has accepted the recent apology of the owner of the Chine vessel to the involved Filipino fishermen in the June 9 maritime incident in Recto Bank.
“We accept the recent apology extended by the owner of the Chinese vessel to our fishermen affected by the incident,” Panelo said.
“We likewise welcome the owner’s humility to take responsibility and acknowledgment that compensation must be provided to cover the actual loss,” he added.
Duterte and Xi will meet on Thursday evening (August 29) and shall witness the signing of certain agreements between the two countries.
Joining President Duterte in China are nine of his Cabinet officials to include:
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo
Also included in the President’s delegation are Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero De Vera III and Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
The Senate seeks to investigate reports that Chinese investors are planning to develop the Fuga Island in the province of Cagayan and the islands of Grande and Chiquita in Zambales.
In a statement, Senator Risa Hontiveros said she is wondering why the government allowed these movements despite China’s alleged bullying practices in the West Philippine Sea.
She added that these islands are no ordinary islands as they have an important role in the military’s history.
“Amid China’s aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea, it is baffling that the Duterte government allowed this to happen. These are no ordinary islands. These parcels of land are strategic maritime fronts that play a significant role in our military history, which only proves how invaluable they are to our national security,” the senator’s statement reads.
Senator Panfile Lacson also pointed, “security concerns dahil kung Chinese investors ang magde-develop at yung proximity dun sa mga facilities. Lalo’t may report na lumabas na yung western command in Palawan merong allegedly Chinese tourists na kumukuha ng pictures so anong intention [security concerns because if Chinese investors will the ones to develop (these islands) and their proximity is in (our military) facilities. Especially now that the Western Command in Palawan has reported that there is an alleged Chinese tourists taking pictures, on what intention]?”
Aside from the three islands, the Senate may possibly discuss the development of the 32-hectare lot of Island Cove Resort in Kawit, Cavite that is to be used by the Philippine Off Shore Gaming Operator (POGO) industry.
This is only several kilometers away from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) air and naval bases. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
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