Carpio dream on sea row: uphold rule of law PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 30 July 2016 14:08



LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all…” (Eclessiastes 9:11, the Holy Bible).

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CARPIO’S DREAM ON THE SOUTH CHINA SEA ROW: RULE OF LAW: I had a rare and unscheduled, unplanned, and totally unexpected interview with Senior Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio at the lobby of the Manila Hotel last Thursday, July 28, 2016. I was there waiting for the 36th induction ceremonies of the Rotary Club of Intramuros, he was a guest in a wedding anniversary of a friend.

We talked for five minutes and, in that brief span of time where we exchanged  views about the South China Sea problem, I learned that his passion in pursuing the Philippine claim against China was a deliberate and determined effort by him which began in 1995 yet, during his days as Chief Presidential Legal counsel to then President Ramos.

Carpio, who belongs to the UP College of Law Sigma Rho Fraternity where I also belong, told me that his actions on the South China Sea problem arose from his desire for our country to get what it really owns in the area, and to compel China and all other countries which have similar claims to follow international law and agreements in determining their rights and obligations.

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“RP HELD NUMEROUS TALKS WITH CHINA ON SEA ROW”: Carpio also disputed China’s claim that there were no prior talks, dialogues and  negotiations between it and the Philippines before Filipino officials lodged a case for arbitration before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in the Netherlands. There were dialogues and various negotiations in the past, but nothing came out of them, he said.

The Chinese were adamant in insisting on their so-called “nine dash line” claim over the entirety of the South China Sea even then, Carpio pointed out, adding that this mental frame of the Chinese was what was drilled into their minds and collective consciousness by centuries of indoctrination and official pronouncements by their leaders.

Carpio explained that it is therefore not surprising that, even at this point, China persists in saying it owns, by historic title, much of the South China Sea. Realizing this kind of Chinese mentality over the problem, Carpio then thought of launching and pursuing a campaign to change the way the Chinese think of the problem, with the petition for arbitration as the culminating action.

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FORCING THE CHINESE INTO A NEW MINDSET ON SEA ROW: And now that the arbitral tribunal ruled against China’s claims, the process of changing the Chinese mindset over the South China Sea went into full gear, Carpio intoned. On account of the decision, which is now supported by almost the entire world, the Chinese will now be forced to take a different view of the issue, and ultimately face the reality that they could no longer just insist on their claims.

Citing the example of an adverse decision slapped against the United States by the same arbitral tribunal in the past, Carpio noted that while Americans initially resisted complying with that decision, it eventually made a turn around and obeyed. He said this is what he expects China to do in the near future.

In this regard, Carpio disputed claims (aired even in this column of mine) that the Philippines did not really win anything from The Hague because there was no order against China to stop its incursions into the South China Sea. Carpio said that what our country won, in actuality, was the opportunity, provided for by the decision by the arbitral tribunal, to soften up China on its hardline stand.

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