DOJ chief: Case vs China for environmental damage to be filed early 2024 | Global News

DOJ chief: Case vs China for environmental damage to be filed early 2024

/ 05:52 PM October 26, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said the case against China for environmental damage in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) may be filed early next year.

Remulla made the statement after meeting with legal experts to discuss the evidence that the government has at hand and the preparation for the filing of the case.

“Humingi kami ng advice sa mga legal experts kung paano namin bubunuin ang aming pagnanais na mahain ng kaso sa isang international tribunal tungkol sa environmental problems na nangyayari sa atin,” Remulla said.


(We asked for advice from our legal experts on how to go about the filing of the complaint in the international tribunal.)


Joining Remulla is Atty. Antonio Oposa, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, and spokesperson for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela.

“Mabilis namin tatrabahuin ito. Sana by January or February next year, or at the latest, March, mai-launch na namin ang kaso,” Remulla told reporters in a press briefing.

(We will work on this swiftly. Hopefully, by January or February next year, or at the latest, March, we will be able to launch the case.)

The DOJ chief said they are gathering additional evidence to bolster the evidence already on hand.

“Documented natin eh. We have evidence. It’s just a matter of organizing the evidence and showing it to the proper tribunal. That’s the most important, that we file a case before an international tribunal about the environmental damage caused by China,” he explained.

He said the DOJ is also coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard, cinematographers, and scientists to show the diversity and the damage wrought by China in the WPS over the years.


Aside from the damage to the marine ecosystem, Remulla said the government will also include in the case the construction of “artificial islands” that cause degradation to the environment.

“Kasama ‘yan sa ating reklamo, ‘yang artificial islands na ‘yan. Isa ‘yan sa mga kaso na ihahain natin,” he said.

(We will include in the case the construction of artificial islands in the area. It is one of the cases that we will be filing.)

Remulla said the Philippines’ position is backed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China has built artificial islands at Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, Hughes Reef, Gaven Reef, Johnson Reef, and Mischief Reef.

Both Manila and Beijing are signatories to the UNCLOS, and the former anchored its historic arbitration case against the latter’s excessive claims in the South China Sea on it.

However, China refused to recognize the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

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READ: Scientists warn of ‘dire ecological damage’ in WPS territories if Chinese incursion continues

TAGS: Case, China, Damage, DoJ, Environment, environmental damage

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