Darlan Palencia Barcelon
Legazpi City, [10.31.15] – The Department of Foreign Affairs [DFA] has lauded and appreciated the initial ruling made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration by recognizing the complaint lodged by the Republic of Philippines on issue of jurisdiction over the disputed Spratly’s group of islands against the People’s Republic of China, was properly constituted.
DFA Spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Charles Jose told The Philippine Examiner by phone interview on Friday has expressed optimism on the Arbitral Tribunal’s judgment.
Assistant Secretary Jose was quoted by saying; “We welcome the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal that it has jurisdiction over our case. We look forward to the Tribunal’s further hearing on the merits of the case.”
The Permanent Court of Arbitration has issued a press release last October 29 on its initial ruling in The Republic of Philippines versus The People’s Republic of China.
According to the court ruled that the case was “properly constituted”citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that China’s “non-appearance” did not preclude the Court’s jurisdiction, and that the Philippines was within its rights in filing the case.
The Thursday’s unanimous decision means that the Permanent Court of Arbitration rules in the Philippines’ favor on the question of jurisdiction.
Under the jurisdictional issue resolved, the case can move forward to evaluating the merits of the Philippines’ legal assertions in the South China Sea.
It can be recalled that complaint lodged by the Philippines against China has emanated first by the annoying status of Beijing’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. Manila argues that the nine-dash line is an excessive maritime claim and not in line with the entitlements for coastal states under UNCLOS.
The second argument was based on the first point, that the nine-dash line is an excessive claim. The Philippines is arguing that China’s occupation of various features in the Spratly Islands is illegal.
The third issue at hand is the Court’s evaluation of the Philippines’ argument that China is illegally exploiting natural resources within the areas that would fall under the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone [EEZ] under UNCLOS, and the fourth argument is, Manila claims that China has interfered with its ability to freely navigate its own EEZ.