Carpio: China bound by West Philippine Sea ruling

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has disputed Malacañang’s claim that China’s acceptance or nonacceptance of the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) was immaterial under international law.

“China is legally bound by the (Permanent Court of Arbitration’s) ruling whether China likes it or not. That is the compulsory nature of international law,” Carpio said in a statement.


The magistrate made the comment in response to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s explanation of the government decision allowing China to conduct research explorations in Philippine Rise (Benham Rise).

Separate issue



The WPS dispute was a separate issue that had nothing to do with the Benham (decision), Roque said, adding that President Duterte had given the research permission to China, along with the University of the Philippines, by virtue of the President being the chief architect of diplomacy.

Carpio and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano had rung the alarm bells over the Chinese exploration of the submerged region believed to be rich in resources.

Carpio earlier warned that it would be “dumb” and “foolish” for the Philippines to give China access to Benham Rise when it continued to ignore the tribunal ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims over the WPS.

Alejano said there was reason to be suspicious of China’s purported marine research in light of its history of occupying areas under the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“As long as China refuses to accept and implement the ruling, the Philippines should deny (its) request to conduct any marine scientific research in Benham Rise,” Carpio said.



‘Science is science’


But Malacañang defended its decision and said that other countries were welcome to conduct their own exploration in the underwater plateau.

“Science is science. Science knows no nationalities, and the requirement is Philippine scientists must also participate in the scientific exercise and that the results must be shared with Philippine authorities,” Roque said in a press briefing in Legazpi City.

The quest for truth was “all important,” the Palace official said, adding that “all countries that want to conduct joint research with (the Philippines) in this extended continental shelf were welcome to do so.”

Carpio said that in international law, where there is no world policeman to enforce a legally binding ruling, acceptance and implementation of the ruling by the losing state is “obviously material.”

Mischief Reef

The senior magistrate also scored China for going “rogue and refus(ing) to accept and implement the ruling” by refusing to vacate Mischief Reef which, the tribunal ruled, forms part of the Philippine EEZ.

Roque said the tribunal’s decision itself was the implementation of international law.

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