By Leonel Abasola
MANILA – Senator Francis Escudero on Thursday said the government should file a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to recognize the 2016 Hague ruling to prevent future administrations from trying to amend the country’s victory over China.
In a media briefing, Escudero suggested that the government file a “Special Action for Recognition of Foreign Judgment” before the High Court to formally recognize the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) as part of the law of the land.
The Arbitral Ruling in 2016 bolstered the government’s territorial claim as it invalidated China’s nine-dash line that claims nearly the entirety of the South China Sea.
The government, through the Solicitor-General, should initiate the filing of the petition on recognition of foreign judgment before the SC, Escudero said.
“The recognition of foreign judgment should be led by the Solicitor General as an official lawyer of the government,” he said.
Escudero said his suggestion could be one of the options in giving flesh to the intentions of Senate Resolution 718, which condemned China’s continued aggression in the West Philippine Sea and urged the Philippine Government to “take appropriate action in asserting and securing the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).”
The High Court’s recognition of the Arbitral Ruling could be a better alternative instead of bringing the matter before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which, he noted, has its own disadvantages.
In pushing for the “Special Action for Recognition of Foreign Judgment”, Escudero admitted that the Philippines have no case similar to the arbitral ruling but pointed out a parallel analogy on Article 26 ng Family Code that ”allows recognition of a foreign divorce obtained by the foreigner spouse abroad.”
He said if the SC decides that it recognizes the arbitral ruling then that will become part of the country’s law even if Congress did not pass any measure related to this, and that the said portion could not be altered or revisited.
“The Constitution is part of the law of the land. The Constitution says all decisions, final and executory of the Court, whether it be the higher or lower court, shall form part of the law of the land,” he said.
Escudero admitted that he would not have signed the Senate resolution on the West Philippine Sea if his colleagues insisted on bringing the issue to the UNGA.
He added that he already discussed this proposal to Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III and Sen. Risa Hontiveros before the approval of the resolution last August 1. (PNA)