MANILA, July 3 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines will send its top government officials to the Netherlands for the start of the oral arguments of its arbitration case against China aimed at settling the territorial dispute over parts of the South China Sea.
At a press briefing on Friday, deputy presidential spokesperson Usec. Abigail Valte confirmed that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. will be flying to The Hague for the start of the arbitration court proceedings next week.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has been lecturing on the territorial dispute between the China and the Philippines, and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza will also be part of the delegation to represent the judiciary.
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay will argue the Philippines’ case in the proceedings to determine if the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea the jurisdiction to hear the arbitration case.
Valte said this high level delegation was assembled to show that there is “government support across the board” for the Philippines’ arbitration case against China.
“This is really a country effort. Hindi ito [na-file] lang tapos pinabayaan na,” she told reporters.
Valte added that all members of the delegation can contribute to the start of court proceedings on the arbitration case.
“They have been part of the discussion on the dispute on the West Philippine Sea,” she said.
The oral arguments will be held on July 7 and 13.(MNS)