Press Release
July 7, 2015


Senator Chiz Escudero called on politicians and sectors regardless of their affiliations to support the country's legal team in its bid to defend the Philippines before an international arbitration court that will hear the West Philippines Sea case starting today.

"Sana kahit nagbabangayan ang administrasyon at oposisyon ngayon dahil sa papalapit na eleksyon ay maalala natin sa kasong ito na may mga bagay na mas mahalaga at mas matimbang sa pulitika---ang kapakanan ng bayan (I hope that even if the administration and the opposition are locking horns because of the nearing election, this case can remind us that there are matters more important and more weighty than politics---the welfare of our people)," Escudero said.

"If we can throw our support behind our national athletes, surely we can do the same for the legal giants who will be fighting for flag and country," added Escudero, who is lawyer himself.

The Philippines is set to present its case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in the afternoon of July 7 in the Netherlands local time. The initial hearings will focus on whether the court has jurisdiction over the issues raised by the Philippines.

The Philippine representatives and its retained counsel will argue that the dispute is maritime in nature and therefore subject to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which the Philippines and China are both signatories.

Should the arbitration panel find in favor of the Philippines, then it will proceed to hear the merits of the country's case. The country argues that China is not complying with the UNCLOS, an agreement it is party to, and is attempting to claim more territory than what is provided for by the agreement in asserting that it is entitled to nearly the entire West Philippines Sea, as indicated by its disputed nine-dash line map.

Malacanang has assembled a high-level delegation, led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., to ensure support for the case of the Philippines. Aside from key members of the Cabinet Security Cluster, they were also accompanied by leaders of the House of Representatives and Supreme Court justices.

"This is an unprecedented show of solidarity of our three branches of government, one that reminds us that we should all set aside our differences when it comes to national interest," said Escudero.

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