Without ICC treaty, PHL can’t sue China if it invades Panatag, Scarborough — Carpio

admin   •   October 10, 2018   •   3322

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the Pagasa (Hope) Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines July 20, 2011.
REUTERS/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has concluded the oral arguments on the petition questioning the validity of the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It was the Executive Department’s turn to argue that there is no explicit constitutional provision that states Senate concurrence is required in treaty withdrawal.

Solicitor General Jose Calida explained that President Rodrigo Duterte did not violate the Constitution, but only exercised his power as the chief architect that crafts and implements foreign policy.

But Justice Antonio Carpio said the ICC treaty is the only legal deterrent that can protect the country from China’s abuses, specifically, the Kampala Amendment which activated the court’s jurisdiction on crimes of aggression.

“If China invades Pag-asa [Island] and puts up a naval base in Scarborough Shoal, we will not be able to sue President Xi Jin Ping and his military leaders because we have withdrawn already from the ICC, correct?
I mean we cannot take advantage of this legal defense anymore because we are withdrawing from the Rome Statute.

Calida suggested that there might be other international treaties that can be used, but Carpio insisted otherwise.

“This is the only treaty in the world that holds political and military leaders of a state that commits the crime of aggression,” Carpio said.

The Philippines withdrew from the treaty in March 2018 via note verbale sent to the United Nations amid the preliminary examinations on Duterte’s war on drugs by ICC prosecutor Fathou Bensouda.

But according to constitutional law professor Tony La Viña, whether or not the high court rules in favor of the president, investigations on his controversial drug war will continue.

“Kahit sabihin ng Supreme Court natin na valid ang pag withdraw ni Duterte di ba? For any case filed against him, for acts he committed noong member pa tayo, continue iyon. Ang consequence lang ng pagwithdraw natin sa ICC ay any acts committed after April or March, when it takes effect, is no longer covered,” La Viña said.

The petitions asking for the nullification of the withdrawal were filed by opposition senators and the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court. — Mai Bermudez

Trump to give TikTok’s Chinese owner 45 days to reach deal to sell — sources

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft Corp, two people familiar with the matter said on Sunday (August 2).

U.S. officials have said TikTok under its Chinese parent poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump said on Friday (July 31) he was planning to ban TikTok in the United States after dismissing the idea of a sale to Microsoft.

But following a discussion between Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the Redwood, Washington-based company said in a statement on Sunday that it would continue negotiations to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, and that it aimed to reach a deal by Sept. 15.

It was not immediately clear what changed Trump’s mind. Banning TikTok would alienate many of its young users ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, and would likely trigger a wave of legal challenges. Several prominent Republican lawmakers put out statements in the last two days urging Trump to back a sale of TikTok to Microsoft.

The negotiations between ByteDance and Microsoft will be overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government panel that has the right to block any agreement, according to the sources, who requested anonymity ahead of a White House announcement. Microsoft cautioned in its statement that there is no certainty a deal will be reached. (Reuters)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

Pompeo says closed Chinese consulate in Houston was ‘den of spies’

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (July 30) the “tide is turning” in U.S. dealings with China, saying there is international support for American policies, including the step-up of maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Reflecting rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Pompeo took a tough line on China in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We see the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the center threat of our times,” Pompeo said.

In recent days, Washington and Beijing have each closed one of the other country’s consulates – the United States closing China’s office in Houston and China retaliating by shuttering the U.S. facility in Chengdu – and Pompeo recently announced an end to Hong Kong’s special trading status.

“We closed the consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo was testifying publicly at Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the first time in 15 months, discussing the State Department’s annual budget request.

President Donald Trump’s administration has tried to slash the State Department budget since it took office, which has been rejected by Congress every year. Democratic lawmakers told the hearing that they would not support steep cuts this year either. (Reuters)

(Production: Kia Johnson)

Australian police say Chinese students being targeted in ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020

New South Wales (NSW) Police on Monday (July 27) warned students of Chinese backgrounds studying in Sydney to be aware of a ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam that has obtained millions in payments from unsuspecting victims.

Victims are called by the criminals purporting to be from a Chinese authority like the police or tax department, “the caller then convinces the victim that they have been implicated in a crime in China, or that their identity has been stolen, and that they must pay a fee to avoid legal action, arrest or deportation” said NSW Police in a statement.

“Essentially threatening harm against people, family members in China unless they contrive a photograph that makes them look like they have been kidnapped. Then they encourage the person to lock themselves away in a hotel room, turn their phones off, cease all contact,” Director of NSW Police State Crime Command, Darren Bennett told media.

Bennett added that the phone calls are becoming very common and encourage anyone receiving one to not pay any money. (Reuters)

(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes)

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