Duterte won’t declare Reed Bank as patrimonial asset — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would not declare the gas-rich Reed Bank as a patrimonial asset of the Philippines, Malacañang said Tuesday, dismissing as “misplaced” the apprehension of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Carpio had warned that China could seize the gas resource in the Reed Bank, internationally known as Recto Bank, if Manila would not be able to pay the $62-million loan agreement with Beijing.
The loan agreement, signed on April 10, 2018, stated that “in case of default by the Philippines in repayment of the loan, China can seize, to satisfy any arbitral award in favor of China, “patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use” of the Philippine government.”
Carpio said the rich gas field in Reed Bank falls under the category of “patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use.”
“We will not do that. Why will he (Duterte) do that. What will be your purpose in declaring that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“So what he [Carpio] is saying is not possible because there is no declaration that Reed Bank is a patrimonial property,” he added.
The Palace official cited a resolution penned by Carpio in 2002, saying that “you cannot just convert a public property to a patrimonial property.”
“Under the Constitution, if it’s inalienable property, it is public property, you cannot give that. You cannot sell that. You can only lease it if it’s patrimonial property,” Panelo said.
“A public property could only be a patrimonial property if there is an enabling law saying that it is permitted or if there is a proclamation of the President,” he added.
He said the “apprehension” of Carpio, “with due respect to him” was “misplaced.”
“Right now there’s no law, proclamation, declaring Reed Bank is patrimonial,” he said. /jpv
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