President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS Photo)

MANILA, May 7 (Mabuhay) — The 2016 arbitral ruling that favored the Philippines’ case against China is “final and executory,” a former Philippine diplomat said Thursday after President Rodrigo Duterte belittled the victory.

“It’s final and executory,” Lauro Baja, former Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, said

Baja said there are other means to use the 2016 arbitral award such as bringing it before the United Nations.

“It should have been brought to the UN on some three years ago. Hindi pa nagagawa [we didn’t do it]. The nearest we brought it to the UN was the statement of the President last UN General Assembly but that’s different,” he added.

In a televised address on Wednesday night, Duterte dismissed the Philippines’ victory in the UN-backed international tribunal as just a piece of paper that cannot be enforced. Beijing has refused to honor the ruling.

In 2020, Duterte said during the UN General Assembly that the Philippines will not accept any attempt to undermine the 2016 ruling, which invalidated China’s massive claim over the South China Sea.

“The Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it,” Duterte told the UN.

Baja said the Philippine military’s constant maritime drills is “some sort of enforcement” of the country’s 2016 arbitral award from The Hague, Netherlands.

He also said the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) diplomatic protests lodged against China may be used for future cause of action in defending the Philippines’ territorial waters.

“On face value parang walang nangyayari but for future cause of action at least masasabi natin na during the cause of time that we did something. So hindi tayo magsisi na hindi tayo umimik or what,” Baja said.

The Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest against China over its “belligerent” actions against the Philippine vessels conducting maritime drills at  Scarborough Shoal.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has vowed to file diplomatic protests until there are still Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea. (MNS).

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