Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Supreme Court sights his point that any announcement from the Philippines telling it can’t prevent China from expanding on Scarborough Shoal “really urges and push China to expand on Scarborough Shoal.”

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio - Philstar

This will happen if the Philippines lets loose our grip on the Scarborough shoal and all the areas in the Exclusive Economic Zone in the West Philippines Sea including the Benham Rise.

Justice Carpio issued the announcement on Sunday after President Duterte said prior to his departure to Myanmar that the nation cannot do anything to stop and prevent China from expanding on Scarborough or Panatag Shoal.

Justice Carpio said, “the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, which is tasked by the Constitution to defend the country’s territory.”

The Senior Justice said under Republic Act 9522, Scarborough Shoal is part of the national territory and the R.A. 9522 amended certain provisions of R.A. 3046, as amended by R.A. 5446, to “define the archipelagic baselines of the Philippines, and for other purposes.”

The Philippines is no match when it comes to the military might of China, therefore, Justice Carpio outlined the way how President Duterte can fulfill his constitutional duty by doing “any, some or all” of the following:

1. File a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity.

“This is the least that the President should do,” Carpio said.

He said this is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels.

2. Send the Philippine Navy to patrol Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio clarified if the Chinese assault Philippine naval force vessels, the President can invoke the Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.

3. Ask the United States to declare that Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippine territory for purposes of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty since the shoal has been part of Philippine territory even during the American colonial period.

Justice Carpio said.”The United States has declared the Senkakus as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty,”

The Senkaku islands are a source of dispute between Japan and China in the East China Sea.

4. Accept the standing U.S. offer to hold joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, which includes Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio explained that this will demonstrate joint Philippine and US determination to prevent China from building on Scarborough Shoal.

5. Avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

“This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio added.

Justice Carpio’s personal advocacy - “To protect and preserve Philippine territorial and maritime sovereignty specifically in the West Philippine Sea.”

He is an expert on the West Philippine Sea and was part of the Philippine delegation to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that argued and won the country’s case against China.

Justice Carpio believes in the importance of “an understanding by citizens of all claimant states … either to restrain extreme nationalism fueled by historical lies or to give hope to a just and durable settlement of the dispute based not only on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) but also on respect for actual historical facts.” - JCE.

Source: CNN Philippines