Carpio: let’s resolve South China Sea dispute with lawfare and diplomacy

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol August 20,2016 - 10:12 PM
 Supreme Court Senior  Associate Justice Antonio Carpio shows picture of marine life in  a disputed reef in  South China Sea as he discusses the dispute  before the Law students of the University of San Carlos in a forum on Aug. 18, 2016. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio shows picture of marine life in a disputed reef in South China Sea as he discusses the dispute before the Law students of the University of San Carlos in a forum on Aug. 18, 2016. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

War against China is never an option in pursuing the Philippines’ claim to the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Friday reiterated this position as he called on Filipinos never to lose hope and to abide by the Constitution and the rule of law amid China’s refusal to honor the arbitral tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines.

Carpio spoke before law professors and students in a forum held at the University of San Carlos’ College of Law auditorium in Cebu City.

“We do not fight China directly. When we talk of China, its huge naval fleet, its huge air force with its nuclear warheads aimed at us, how do we respond? We cannot start a war we know we will certainly lose. So we will do it through lawfare (law as a weapon of war) and diplomacy,” he said.

“Arbitration is the way to go. Arbitration is the peaceful settlement of dispute, and the parties must comply with the ruling of the tribunal,” he added.

Last July 12, the Philippines successfully convinced the United Nations arbitral tribunal to invalidate China’s sweeping nine-dash line claim over South China Sea.

The tribunal issued its ruling after several months of hearings and submission of documents.

China did not attend any of the proceedings, refusing to recognize the case.

While the Philippines is willing to talk with China over the issue, Carpio, who was part of the Philippine delegation that argued before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), said the country should never give in to the demands of China when it comes to the Constitution and the arbitrary ruling.

“We will stick to the ruling of the tribunal and the Constitution. That means, we will not give up the benefit of the ruling. We will follow the Constitution. For me, that’s good enough,” he said.

“You want to talk with China? That’s fine with me as long as we don’t deviate from the Constitution and the ruling,” he added.

Filipinos, he said, should not think the arbitration was useless.

Carpio, who has done an extensive study on the South China Sea dispute, said the arbitral tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines should unite Filipinos in getting the world to convince China to accept the decision that invalidated its claims to almost all of the South China Sea.

“The world is behind us. We have to convince all people in government we have to stick to this. We can’t give up our sovereign rights and jurisdiction. We’ve won the battle already. For us to walk away from that and say we don’t need that, what would the next generation of Filipinos will say?” he said.

Philippines filed its case in January 2013 following a standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships at Scarborough Shoal in April 2012.

Since the start of the arbitration case, China has conducted several massive reclamation projects to turn submerged reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military structures and equipment.

China’s reclamation activities have alarmed other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam, that also have competing claims in the South China Sea.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Cebu, China, judge, south China Sea, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, territorial dispute

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.