SALVADOR S. PANELO — PHILSTAR/JOVEN CAGANDE
By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said the government is considering the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as an option to enforce the 2016 ruling by The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“Isa sa mga option iyon (That is one of the options),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said at a news conference at the Palace on Tuesday.
He added that it is “for the President’s decision, I’m just giving you my thoughts on it na puwedeng gawin ‘yan (that it can be done).”
“Everything is possible. If you’re talking of possibilities. But whether magiging (that will be) effective or not is another story,” he said further.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has repeatedly said he would revisit the ruling “at the right time.” He reaffirmed that position last year in his bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Singapore.
Mr. Panelo said it was the opposition that worsened the situation in the West Philippine Sea.
“What I’m saying is lahat ng problema ngayon kaya nandito because of you — pinaalala ninyo eh. Iyong problema kasi — maliit na problema, lumaki nang lumaki dahil sa inyo, wala kayong ginawa,” he said. (What I am saying is you are the cause of all these problems. You made the problems worse. The problems were not serious. They just worsened because of you. You have done nothing).
Former foreign affairs secretary Albert F. del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales have filed recently a communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials over the harassment of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua has said it “was not a proper action that is based on facts.”
“It’s a fabrication and also a misuse of the mandate of the ICC,” he told reporters at the Palace last Monday.