Filipino officials wrapped up arguments to convince the five-member Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Netherlands it has jurisdiction over a case that Manila had filed against Beijing regarding China’s vast claims to the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Philippines was “confident” that the tribunal would assume jurisdiction.
“We are doing this as a peaceful means to resolve the dispute. We can’t fight China economically, militarily and even politically. This is the way to do it,” de Lima told ABS-CBN on Tuesday.
Last week, the United Nations-backed tribunal started hearing a Philippine petition to declare illegal China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea that overlap those of the Philippines.
“The Arbitral Tribunal scheduled two rounds of hearings on jurisdiction and admissibility on the case filed by the Philippines. The first round of oral arguments was held on July 7-8, 2015. The tribunal deliberated on scheduling a second round of arguments, conscious of its duty to assure parties of the full opportunity to present [their]case[s],” Malacanang deputy spokesman Abigail Valte, a member of the Philippine delegation, said.
Valte reported that the hearings concluded with the second round of arguments conducted on Monday for the Philippines to address additional and clarificatory questions from the tribunal.
The Philippine panel was given until July 23 to submit further justifications of its claims.
“Solicitor General Florin Hilbay delivered the closing statement. The Philippines has until July 23 to give its written submission to the tribunal to amplify its answers to questions posed by individual members of the tribunal,” Valte explained.
The hearings were held from July 7 to 13 and attended by top Philippine government officials.
The tribunal, however, said it will only rule on whether it has jurisdiction over the case in a few months but before the end of the year.