The Philippines owes its victory over China in the arbitration case before the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague only to former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and his team, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Sunday.
Locsin was referring to the July 12, 2016 Award handed down by the United Nations-backed arbitration court that invalidated China’s excessive nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
In a tweet, Locsin said the Arbitral ruling cemented the country’s jurisdiction over the reefs and waters in the West Philippine Sea.
“What cements the reefs and waters as ours is The Arbitral Award won by PNoy, Del Rosario et al. They had no allies; no support from other countries least of all Southeast Asia which tried to sabotage the Arbitral Award when they saw it coming. We owe it to PNoy et al only,” he said.
In particular, he was all praises to Paul Reichler, the “genius” German lawyer who represented and argued on behalf of the Philippine petition against China before the arbitration court.
“Paul Reichler, An Elegant Mind. He pared our claim down to the barest essential and we won without help from anyone out there, especially our neighbors and a West hungry for more renminbi. We didn’t need the world: we have Reichler. Thank you, sir. And that’s a Francis; a genius,” Locsin said in a separate tweet.
In the arbitration, Locsin noted Reichler’s sharp move when he narrowed down the Philippine petition to the features in the South China Sea.
“Exactly why we won. Our genius GERMAN lawyer said, bring up sovereignty, we lose, our thrown out for lack of jurisdiction; with typical German sharpness he said narrow the issues down to features in the abstract and we win an abstract victory which is a victory nonetheless,” he explained.
Known as the “giant slayer” in the international legal circles, Reichler rose to fame in 1984 when he represented the Nicaraguan government before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a historic case against the United States.
In the said case, Nicaragua accused the US of funding the ‘contras’ to topple the then-ruling Sandinista government. The ICJ ruled in favor of Nicaragua citing that the US violated, among other things, “the principle of non-use of force.”
The ICJ ordered the US to pay Nicaragua $370.2 million but the US refused to heed the ruling.