Duterte reiterates arbitral ruling is meaningless, Enrile says it is not

Published May 17, 2021, 11:11 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte reiterated his stand that the 2016 The Hague ruling invalidating China’s claim in the West Philippine Sea will just be rejected by China calling it “meaningless” this time around.

President Duterte and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (Manila Bulletin / Simeon Celi / Presidential Photo)

Duterte made the statement as he dedicated his public address this week to talk about the West Philippine Sea issue with former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as special guest.

In his pre-recorded public address on Monday evening, the President said it would be pointless to go to the United Nations (UN) about the issue because they cannot enforce it.

“For me, Sir, the beginning of this problem was when we retreated,” Duterte said, referring to the 2012 standoff between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.

“Since then, ‘yung mga (the) paper works about the arbitral award has become meaningless… The opposite camp of the political side ay sinasabi (is saying) that I should do my very best in asking the UN,” he added.

For his part, Enrile said that while the Arbitral Award was not meaningless, any resolution coming from the UN will not have much effect since the body does not have police powers.

“Sa aking paningin, hindi naman nasasayang yung decision ng arbitration diyan sa bagay na yan sapagka’t nandiyan na yun eh. Sa palagay ko nakarehistro ang decision sa record ng UN (I think the arbitration decision on the issue will not go to waste because it’s already there. This decision is already in the UN’s records),” he said.

“Kahit may resolution ng UN ‘yan, ‘di mapapatupad ng UN yung resolution nila. Wala silang police force eh. Wala namang world government na kagaya ng estruktura sa ating bansa (Even if the UN has a resolution, they won’t be able to enforce it because they don’t have police force. There is no world government that has a country’s structure),” he added.

Meanwhile, President Duterte reiterated that he does not want to go to war with China.

“Even if we put our entire Navy ships there, we will not start a war because we cannot afford it. I was just being frank with everybody,” he said.

According to Duterte, all the Philippines can do now is to “talk and talk” with China.

“I said that might makes it right and we are not, unfortunately, on the side of might. So we cannot do anything because we cannot be in parity in force and so we have to talk,” he said.

“Just talk and talk until such time by the grace of God if there’s an opportune time for all of these things to correct itself,” he added.

Last week, the President said he will not withdraw the country’s ships from the disputed waters but said he does not intend to start a war with China.