Philippines has less armament but owns a mighty weapon

“We may be a small nation, but we come from a proud race. We may have less in armament, but we have a mighty weapon, the majesty of the law. With this self-defense instrument, we thus have sought to bring China to arbitration,” Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza said in his keynote message in a symposium tackling Borders and Cross-Border Enforcement sponsored by Harvard International Law Journal at Harvard Law School last February 27.

He added that China’s claim over the entire South China Sea has no basis. “China’s grand claim to cover almost the entire South China Sea, and all the maritime features therein, has no basis in international law.”

“China has so far refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings despite continuous and many invitations from the tribunal. Again we ask: Under a regime of law, wouldn’t the world be better off if China contributed to the argumentation, so that by its reasoned elaboration, it could enlighten everyone on the legal bases for its ambitious claim over almost all of the South China Sea?” Jardaleza explained.

Associate Justice Jardeleza was the Solicitor General when Philippine government instituted an arbitral proceedings against the People’s Republic of China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague, Netherlands. The Arbitral Tribunal is expected to make its ruling first quarter of 2016.