Sen. Tito Sotto takes his oath of office as Senate president during the opening of the first regular session of the 18th Congress. Administering his oath of office is Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Also in the photo is Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo
Senate must act on 'verbal' fishing deal with China — Carpio
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - July 23, 2019 - 11:31am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate must immediately act on the Philippines' fishing deal with China, which President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said.

In his fourth SONA on Monday, Duterte justified his position on allowing China to fish in Philippine exclusive economic zone. The president claimed that he was only invoking traditional fishing rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Duterte earlier said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a "verbal agreement" on fishing in the West Philippine Sea.

In a television interview, Carpio pointed out that this deal between the two leaders is an international agreement.

"Under the constitution, that has to be ratified by the Senate before it can be implemented. What's happening now is it's being implemented without the approval of the Senate," Carpio told ANC's "Headastart" Tuesday morning.

Under Section 4, Article XVIII of the 1987 Contitution, "All existing treaties or international agreements which have not been ratified shall not be renewed or extended without the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate."

Carpio, one of the men behind the Philippines' arbitral victory, had warned Duterte not to mention the fishing deal in his SONA as this would become binding for the country.

Despite the lack of document signed between Duterte and Xi, the verbal agreement is considered an international treaty as the chief executive confirmed it in his SONA.

"Though it's rarely done, it's always in writing, but it is recognized under customary international law. You can have an international agreement verbally," Carpio said.

"So now the ball is in the court of the Senate. It has to act now to either ratify or repudiate that it's up to the Senate now," he added.

ANTONIO CARPIO CHINA PHILIPPINE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE RODRIGO DUTERTE SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA XI JINPING
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