PH does not recognize China’s claim on disputed territory – Palace

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DAVAO CITY (July 26) —Malacañang on Thursday, July 25, reiterated its position that the Philippines has claims to the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a press briefing that while the Philippines taken this matter in a diplomatic manner, the government does not recognize China’s legal argument.

“O hindi ba, they’ve been saying that. Kasi by historical right daw, they’ve been there all the while. Kaya hindi ba sinasabi nila. In fact, iyan nga ang argument nila, ‘That’s ours.’” Secretary Panelo said.

“Of course not! We’re not. As far as we’re concerned, we’ve been ruled to be owning that portion of territory or we have exclusive right to particular territories,” Sec. Panelo stressed. 

The Palace official likewise clarified his earlier remarks on China’s possession over the disputed territory, following reports that Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio wants him to retract the same, saying it was just an analogy. 

“No. What I meant was in constructive possession. I was making an analogy doon sa 10 hectares, you don’t have to be in the entire 10 hectares. You can still occupy one place and you have legal possession, as far as China is concerned. Analogy lang iyon, what I meant was constructive possession,” Panelo said, noting as well that it was from China’s viewpoint that it has legal possession over the disputed areas.

“Secretary Esperon and Secretary Delfin explained that they are in positional advantage, which means actually they are in constructive possession by reason of the installation of camps. In other words, they can do something to protect what they claim to be their territory,” he added. 

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