PH not waiving assets in China loan deal – DoF exec
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will not waive any governmental assets in the loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project with China, a finance official clarified on Tuesday.
“Wala po tayong dineclare na kahit anong collateral sa loan agreement na yan,” Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino II said in an interview with dzMM.
“Ang aming pananaw diyan, anything that has public use or public purpose… we did not waive at explicit yan sa loan agreement. Malinaw yung lenggwahe diyan,” he added.
His clarification came after Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warned that the Chico River loan agreement could potentially allow China to seize gas-rich Reed Bank (Recto Bank) in the West Philippine Sea if the Philippines fails to pay the $62-million loan.
“In case of default by the Philippines in repayment of the loan, China can seize, to satisfy any arbitral award in favor of China, ‘patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use’ of the Philippine government,” Carpio said.
However, Lambino explained that in a waiver of immunity, the Philippine government would not waive any of “our interest and assets.”
“Ang ating waiver of immunity, sabi natin sa loan agreement, we do not waive any of our interest and assets in three areas: diplomatic assets, meaning yung mga consular, embassy assets. Pangalawa, anything that has to do with defense, hindi po natin winaive. Pangatlo, anything that has to do with public use or public purpose or increasing the national wealth,” he said.
“Ibig sabihin niyan anything that is governmental hindi kasama. Ang maaari lang maging subject of arbitration — and again there is no assurance that the creditor country will get any of this… kailangan muna dumaan sa arbitration proceedings — ay ang tinatawag na … patrimonial assets,” he added.
Lambino explained that something that had no “stated public purpose or public use” is considered a patrimonial asset.
The Finance official further said that Carpio should clarify what his definition of patrimonial asset is.
“Well, tanungin natin si Justice Carpio kung ano talaga yung kanyang definition ng patrimonial asset,” Lambino said.
“Iklaro pa natin ulit, dahil malinaw naman na may potential public purpose ang gas research natin, at potentially ay magi-increase din yan ng national wealth natin,” he added.
Lambino also noted that it was Carpio himself who said, in a Supreme Court decision in 2002, that a property cannot be declared as a patrimonial asset unless declared by the state or the legislature.
“Si Justice Carpio mismo ang nagsulat nung 2002 sa isang Supreme Court decision na ang mga, for instance, mga lupa ay hindi naman yan pwedeng i-consider na patrimonial asset until so declared by the state or by the legislature,” he said.
“I’m curious also kung ano yung definition ni Justice Carpio kasi nabanggit niya yan sa isang presentation,” he added. /cbb
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