Calls for assertion of Philippines’ victory on the West Philippine Sea were made stronger by the voices of two retired Supreme Court justices and a former foreign secretary.
In a joint statement during the weekend, retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio, retired associate justice Conchita Carpio Morales (who has also served as Ombudsman), and former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario urged President Rodrigo Duterte to assert the Hague ruling before the United Nations General Assembly, which is set to meet in New York on September 15.
According to them, Duterte must use the remainder of his term to gain the support of the 193 UN member nations on the ruling that upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights to its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
“President Duterte must raise the Arbitral Ruling at the UNGA this September as he will have just one more opportunity to gain the support of more countries next year in the same forum,” their statement said.
“If the Arbitral Ruling is raised this year, we are enabled to work multilaterally and bilaterally in preparation for UNGA 2021 when our chances will have significantly been improved.”
The trio also slammed the previous statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. that there is no need to “re-litigate” the Philippines’ case.
“Bringing the Arbitral Ruling to the UNGA is not re-litigating the case. It is enforcing that we already won,” they claimed, noting that the international law does not have a “world policeman.”
“The Philippines has the strongest position among all nations to bring the South China Sea issue to the fore,” they emphasized.