Joint exploration and development of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) by the Philippines and China will not violate the 1987 Constitution, President Rodrigo Duterte’s top legal adviser said on Wednesday.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo issued the statement after Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio remarked that partnering with China to explore the contested waters is tantamount to giving up the Philippines’ sovereign and territorial rights.
“I don’t think that we are conceding sovereignty. The Constitution says that the President can enter into international agreements with foreign corporations for the exploration, development, utilization of mineral resources, as provided by the law,” Panelo told reporters.
He cited Article 12, Section 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states: “The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens.”