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Duterte orders review of Jardeleza proposal on Baselines Law
Expressing support for Jardeleza’s call, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. pointed out that the arbitral tribunal that reaffirmed the Philippines’ maritime entitlements vis-à-vis China’s claim has pointed out that the domestic law, Republic Act 9522 or the law defining the archipelagic baselines of the Philippines, is not consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
Boy Santos, file

Duterte orders review of Jardeleza proposal on Baselines Law

Christina Mendez, Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has asked his legal team to look into the recommendation of former justice Francis Jardeleza for Congress to amend the Baselines Law.

Expressing support for Jardeleza’s call, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. pointed out that the arbitral tribunal that reaffirmed the Philippines’ maritime entitlements vis-à-vis China’s claim has pointed out that the domestic law, Republic Act 9522 or the law defining the archipelagic baselines of the Philippines, is not consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

“Now, that’s right, it does not automatically nullify the domestic law. But pursuant to pacta sunt servanda, we have a treaty obligation and an obligation under customary international law to amend our existing law to comply with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Roque said.

“It continues to be valid because the tribunal has no power to nullify our domestic laws. But we need to amend it to conform with it since we brought the issue to the (tribunal) with the stand that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea should be followed,” he added.

Jardeleza said he and other law experts have written the President about their concerns to determine what the Philippines should undertake to enforce the arbitral ruling handed down five years ago.

Sought for Duterte’s reaction, Roque said the Chief Executive has tossed the issue to his legal team.

The Office of the Executive Secretary will review the matter and submit its recommendation to the President.

University of the Philippines professor Romel Bagares noted that the arbitral court has pointed out in its 2016 arbitral award that the Philippines cannot assert control over Kalayaan Island Group in its entirety as doing so would violate the UNCLOS.

Bagares explained that the Philippines should come up with a law that will allow it to assert its maritime domain on individual features such as low tide elevations and the regime of islands.

Officials said the current Baselines Law and Presidential Decree 1596, which declare certain areas as parts of Philippine territory based on proximity to certain islets and islets, do not conform to UNLCOS.

Japan and Australia opposed China’s “coercive and destabilizing” behavior and raised serious concerns over recent negative developments in the South China Sea.

Foreign and defense ministers of the two countries agreed during the Ninth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations on Wednesday to strengthen security and defense cooperation as China presses its expansive claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

FRANCIS JARDELEZA PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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