SC Senior Associate Justice Carpio warns vs making declarations of “setting aside” arbitral ruling

(Eagle News)–Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Friday, Sept. 13, warned against making declarations of setting aside the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s nine-dash line delineating the country’s expansive claims in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Carpio said that although President Rodrigo Duterte in particular has “no authority” under Philippine law to “set aside” the arbitral ruling, the “unilateral declaration” by the President “could bind the Philippines under international law under the doctrine of unilateral declarations.”

He said the Philippines  has Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. to thank for his  “prompt clarification”  that we were “not setting aside or abandoning the arbitral ruling, before China could accept the President’s unilateral declaration setting aside the ruling.”

He said this prevented the Philippines from “being bound by the President’s unilateral declaration.”

“We should be thankful to Secretary Locsin for his vigilance in preventing a waiver of our sovereign rights under the arbitral ruling,” Carpio said.

According to Carpio, while the President himself admitted that he has no authority “to give up or concede Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea as embodied in the arbitral ruling” when he supposedly said the same during his first state visit to China, as “chief  architect of the State’s foreign policy the President exercises the prerogative when to assert the arbitral ruling, without setting aside the ruling.”

“Thus, the President can temporarily ‘put aside’ the ruling and assert it at an appropriate future time,” Carpio said.

He noted that “whenever China commits acts that infringe on our sovereign rights under the arbitral ruling, the Philippines must officially and promptly protest such infringement to avoid acquiescing or impliedly consenting to such infringement.”

“Any acquiescence or implied consent can result in the loss of our sovereign rights under the arbitral ruling,” he said.

“The Duterte administration, and the Filipino people, must always be vigilant to avoid such acquiescence or implied consent,” he added.