Retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio noted that China offered the MOU and the Terms of Reference with Beijing even willing to do it under service contract.
Bullit Marquez / File
Probe ship harassment, Government urged
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — Retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio has urged the government to lodge a protest against China’s harassment of oil tanker Green Aura with an all-Filipino crew as he warned that failure to do so would mean acquiescence to China’s claims over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Tuesday night on Cignal TV’s One News, Carpio said the government should have filed a note verbale that Panatag Shoal is covered under the Philippine Baselines Law.

“If we allow China to claim that and we do not protest, we will be acquiescing. It’s an implied consent, so we cannot allow China to do that without at least protesting, because under international law, if you don’t protest, you acquiesce,” he said.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo had dismissed the harassment of the Greek-owned, Liberia-registered oil tanker by a Chinese naval ship as “not a concern” for the Philippines because it did not involve a Philippine vessel.

Carpio, however, contradicted Panelo’s remark, saying, “Regardless to whom that claim was addressed, if those were made public, and now this is public because it was aired, we should protest.”

“So what the Palace is saying (is that) it’s not our concern because that’s a Liberian-registered ship. It’s our concern because that’s a claim against our own territory and we should tell China that’s our territory. At least, we are not acquiescing to what they’re claiming,” he said.

Green Aura captain Manolo Ebora boldly stood against the Chinese when he crossed Panatag Shoal and declared they were in Philippine territory.

Meanwhile, Carpio said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and China for joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea is a “win” for both sides as Manila will be getting the bulk of resources while Beijing will get 40 percent.

China offered a 60-40 sharing agreement in favor of the Philippines.

Carpio noted that China offered the MOU and the Terms of Reference with Beijing even willing to do it under service contract.

“An implied understanding on their part (is that) the sovereign rights belong to the Philippines, but you can only exploit it with our help; anyway, you are paying Shell and the rest 40 percent… I think it’s a win-win,” he said.

China’s service contractor recognizes that the resources – oil and gas – belong to the Philippines but “China does not want to put that in writing,” according to Carpio. – With Christina Mendez, Robertzon Ramirez

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