Davide questions non-mention of West Philippine Sea in draft Charter
“Why not clearly mention the West Philippine Sea? [Is it] because of the administrative fear of or love for China?”
This was the question posed by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, during the Senate hearing on the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha).
Davide pointed out that the West Philippine Sea was not mentioned in the draft federal Constitution produced by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Commission (Con-con) tasked to review the present charter.
“It deliberately did not mention the name West Philippine Sea. Yet, it specifically mentions by name the Philippine Rise,” he said.
“Why not clearly mention the West Philippine Sea? [Is it] because of the administrative fear of or love for China?” he added.
The Article I of the final version of the draft charter reads:
“The Philippines has sovereignty over its territory, consisting of the islands and waters encompassed by its archipelagic baselines, its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, and its airspace. It has sovereignty over islands and features outside its archipelagic baselines pursuant to the laws of the Federal Republic, the law of nations, and the judgments of competent international courts or tribunals. It likewise has sovereignty over other territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title.”
“The Philippines has sovereign rights over that maritime expanse beyond its territorial sea to the extent reserved to it by international law, as well as over its extended continental shelf, including the Philippine Rise. Its citizens shall enjoy the right to all resources within these areas.”
Davide said he earlier observed that the Philippines is becoming a province or colony of China.
Duterte himself made a remark on this before Chinese businessmen, but his spokesperson downplayed this as a joke.
The retired chief justice, however, said that China does not consider serious pronouncements as jokes, especially if it’s in Beijing’s favor.
“We know too that Chinese leaders, especially its President now — President Xi, whom our President admires much — do not joke on state affairs or matters,” he said. /ee
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