Sea row case: Hearing on jurisdiction of UN court starts Tuesday
The Philippine delegation to the United Nations arbitral tribunal will begin its presentation on the country’s petition on South China Sea on Tuesday.
The Philippine government filed a petition before the Arbitral Tribunal, based in The Hague, Netherlands, to nullify China’s claim on almost all areas of South China Sea.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the first hearing will tackle the court’s jurisdiction over the matter. It will last for about three hours, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Netherlands, around 8:30, Manila time).
Valte, who is with the delegation in The Hague, said Solicitor General Florin Hilbay will open the presentation.
“Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario will speak on the reason for the filing of the Philippines’ case. Thereafter, lawyers from Washington-based law firm Foley Hoag, led by Paul Reichler will present the arguments regarding jurisdiction,” she said.
Other government officials who accompanied the group to witness the proceedings are: Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Supreme Court Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Francis Jardeleza, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Benjamin Caguioa, Sandiganbayan Justice Sarah Fernandez, Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista, and Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevara.
In an earlier interview, Valte said the country’s legal team prepared a strong case and that they are optimistic that the tribunal will rule in favor of the Philippines.
De Lima earlier said that a “round one victory” will be a “positive sign for the Philippines’ cause.”
Despite the Philippines’ petition, China, which claims around 90 percent of the South China Sea, has refused to participate in the proceedings.
Inquirer earlier quoted Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Caprio saying that the government could win the case if the tribunal agrees that it has jurisdiction over the case. He said it was impossible for the tribunal to agree with China’s nine-dash line claim. IDL
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