‘Sea dispute should be an election issue’
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - November 6, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea should be made an election issue, with each presidential candidate obliged to make public his or her stand, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said.

“I think this should be an election issue. I think we should first ask them their position because they have not stated it fully,” Carpio said in a forum Thursday organized by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC).

“It should be made a question in the debates of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that if elected president, ‘will you withdraw the case, if it’s still pending’?” he said.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague has unanimously ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case filed by Manila to confirm its entitlements in the West Philippine Sea and oppose Beijing’s massive claim and provocative moves in disputed waters.

He pointed out that Beijing has been grabbing the country’s regime of islands in the West Philippine Sea and has started bolstering its presence in the region by building artificial islands on its illegally occupied reefs and shoals.

The stand of the country’s next political leadership is highly relevant to the current maritime dispute with China, as nothing can legally stop the next president from ordering the withdrawal of the case in the arbitral tribunal.

He said it would be disastrous for the country if the next president decides to withdraw arbitration.

“There’s no legal impediment for him (president) to withdraw. But the consequences will be horrible for us,” he said.

“We’re on the cusp of a victory that is being snatched from us. They will laugh at us and nobody will help us anymore. So I think this should be an election issue,” Carpio said.

 

ACIRC ASIAN INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATION BEIJING CARPIO COMELEC COUNTRY PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION PRESIDENT SO I SUPREME COURT SENIOR ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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