Palace: PHL prepared strong case on territorial row with China before arbitral tribunal

President Benigno S. Aquino III, accompanied by PAF Commanding General Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, reviews the troops during the 68th founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the Haribon Hangar of the Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga on Wednesday (July 01). This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Matatag na Bagwis, Dangal ng Bayan, Lakas ng Sambayanan”. The PAF was founded on July 1, 1947- two years after the end of World War II. It traces its lineage to the Philippine Army Air Corporation established in 1941. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III, accompanied by PAF Commanding General Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, reviews the troops during the 68th founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the Haribon Hangar of the Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga on Wednesday (July 01). This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Matatag na Bagwis, Dangal ng Bayan, Lakas ng Sambayanan”. The PAF was founded on July 1, 1947- two years after the end of World War II. It traces its lineage to the Philippine Army Air Corporation established in 1941. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Saying the Philippines has prepared a “strong” case, Malacañang on Saturday expressed hopes the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands will rule in Manila’s favor regarding its territorial row with China.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippine delegation will hold a meeting once it arrives in The Hague, to prepare the Philippines’ arguments before the tribunal.

“We have essentially prepared a strong case. We believe we stand on firm legal ground. We hope the tribunal will look at our position with favor,” she said on state-run dzRB radio.

“We are confident of the Philippine position on this matter,” she added.

Valte also said the entire delegation is due to leave for The Hague as planned, though Senate President Franklin Drilon may be late.

She said the delegation will meet upon landing in Amsterdam and will hold a briefing.

The delegation will send daily bulletins upon the clearance of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said the Philippines is to argue its case before the Arbitral Tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on July 7 to 13.

It said the hearings will address the issue of the Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction over the case.

Presenting the Philippine position is Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, as agent of the Philippines, together with counsels from Washington DC-based law firm Foley and Hoag, headed by Paul Reichler.

Other members of the Philippine delegation include:

– Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario
– officials from the Solicitor General’s office and DFA
– ranking officials from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches

“If the tribunal decides that it has jurisdiction over the case, the Philippines will be asked at a future date to present its oral arguments on the merits of the case,” the DFA said. (MNS)

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