Five years after the historic decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favor of the Philippines dismissing China’s claim to most of the South China Sea, some have called President Rodrigo Duterte a “traitor” for allegedly ignoring it.
“Through these acts, many Filipinos have reason to believe that our President has been discrediting our nation. For the last five years, what we see is a betrayal of the Filipino people,” said former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque replied that Del Rosario should be responsible for the withdrawal of Philippine Navy ships from Scarborough Shoal in 2012 when there was a standoff with Chinese ships.
“Siya po ang nagpaalis sa ating mga kasundaluhan sa ‘boro’ (Scarborough) na naging dahilan na ang Tsina na lang ang nasa ‘boro’… Manahimik ka diyan dahil ikaw nga ang may pananagutan diyan. I enjoin lawyers and other groups to study the legal liability of Albert Del Rosario in ceding Scarborough Shoal to China,” said Roque.
Duterte criticized for ‘betrayal’ and inaction in Philippines vs China win
Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio stressed that the victory would be realized if the Philippines joins the joint maritime patrols of its ASEAN neighbors and the freedom of navigation operations of the United States and other allies.
For Vice President Leni Robredo, the past 5 years have been wasted because the Duterte administration allegedly did not uphold the rights of the Philippines.
“Since then, national leadership has yet to fully flex the ruling as an instrument to pursue our national interests, failing to invoke it in strong enough terms in the forums that matter most,” said Robredo.
The United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, and New Zealand also issued statements of support for the Philippines’ victory regarding The Hague ruling.
China continues to refuse to recognize the Philippines’ victory.
On 12 July 2016, the special arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines on most of its submissions. However, it clarified that it would not “… rule on any question of sovereignty over land territory and would not delimit any maritime boundary between the Parties.”