Gov’t lawyers ask SC to reschedule Torre de Manila debate
GOVERNMENT lawyers asked the Supreme Court to reschedule the debate on the case involving the construction of the 46-story Torre de Manila because the government is preparing for the July hearing at The Netherlands on the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said he would lead the Philippine delegation in defending the Philippine’s case in a hearing set from July 7 to 13 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands.
“As agent of the Republic in the arbitration, the Solicitor General shall lead the Philippine delegation in these crucial hearings involving the jurisdiction and admissibility of the Republic’s claims before an ad hoc arbitral tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” Hilbay said.
The hearing next month will address the objections to jurisdiction set out in China’s Position Paper. The Arbitral Tribunal will also consider other matters concerning its jurisdiction and the admissibility of the Philippines’ claims.
The Philippines took China to the arbitral tribunal in January 2013 as it challenged the legality of the latter’s nine dash line claim over nearly the entire South China Sea, including areas included in the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
“The importance of this arbitration and the nature of the issues involved require that the Solicitor General be fully prepared to make authoritative, intelligent and informed decisions during the conduct of the hearings,” he said.
Hilbay said it is important that the members of his team be given enough time to make the necessary preparations “to protect the national interest in this case of grave importance.
But he clarified that the Torre de Manila case is also important and require coordination with various government agencies, which is why they asked for an additional 30 days from June 30 to prepare for the oral argument.
“Thus, given the complexity, novelty and important historical and cultural implications of the present case, as counsel for public respondents, are constrained to ask for the Honorable Court’s indulgence in granting an additional 30 days to adequately prepare its position before this Honorable Court,” Hilbay said.
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