PRRD: No country in the world has a sovereignty sa kaniyang economic zone. It is not a question of sovereignty. Ang recognized lang ‘yung 12 miles. We cannot drive them away because they have insisted na sa kanila.
President Duterte’s statement came after he was heavily criticized for an earlier statement saying he will tolerate Chinese fishermen fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zones (Recto Bank) because we are friends. Besides, China won’t allow that their fishermen will be banned from fishing in the Recto Bank since they have historical claim to the area. [Manila Bulletin]
Former Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay mocked the President for his statement, “No country in the world has a sovereignty sa kaniyang economic zone” blah blah in a Facebook post dated June 27, 2019 with the title “SOVEREIGN ERRORS”.
Hilbay explained PRRD, a long-time Davao City prosecutor, erred in interpreting the international and domestic law.
Hilbay cited Art. 73 of UNCLOS as basis of his argument that PRRD was wrong re PH has no sovereignty over EEZ which states, (where both Philippines and China are members): “The coastal State [The Philippines] may, in the exercise of its sovereign rights to explore, exploit, conserve and manage the living resources in the exclusive economic zone, take such measures, including BOARDING, INSPECTION,ARREST, AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS, as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations adopted by it in conformity with this Convention.”
Hilbay also pointed out PRRD’s “small time maritime incident” remark re Recto Bank incident as a “flawed” one.
Hilbay reasoned that the incident in Recto Bank happened 82 nautical miles from the PH and 547 nautical miles from China.
Under the 2016 decision in PH vs. China, the two countries don’t share any “overlapping entitlements” over Recto Bank. Recto or Reed Bank, Hilbay argued, is within our EEZ, allowing us to exercise rights to the exclusion of others, including China.
The “small maritime accident” which almost led to the deaths of 22 Filipino fishermen happened in Recto Bank, which is 82 nautical miles from the Philippines and 547 nautical miles from China. Under the 2016 decision in Philippines v. China, we don’t share any “overlapping entitlements” with China over Recto Bank. Reed Bank, its living and non-living resources, is within our Exclusive Economic Zone, allowing us to exercise rights to the exclusion of others, including China.
The 3rd part of Hilbay’s argument has been found erroneous by OFW cum blogger Orion Perez.
Perez called out the former SolGen in a Facebook post with the title, “FLORIN HILBAY IS AN IDIOT AND A LIAR ” accusing Hilbay of misinterpreting RA 8550, as amended by R.A. 10654 to attack PRRD.
Perez shared the exact text of R.A. 8550 to prove his allegation vs. the former SolGen and quote:
“Section 3. Application of its Provisions. – The provisions of this Code shall be enforced in:
(a) all Philippine waters including other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction, and the country’s 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf;”
Perez lamented that anyone who have English as THEIR FIRST LANGUAGE can clearly see that the text DOES NOT DEFINE THE EEZ AS BEING PART OF PHILIPPINE WATERS over which we have sovereignty and jurisdiction.
Perez explained that RA 8558 merely states that the provisions of the Code are to be enforced in “all Philippine waters including other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction” AND THEN ADDS “and the country’s 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.”
Perez further explained that the original text actually treats the EEZ and continental shelf as being SEPARATE ENTITIES which are distinct from “All Philippine Waters including other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction” which is why it was separated with the conjunction “AND” instead of saying “WHICH INCLUDES.”
Perez remarked the text did NOT say “including other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction WHICH INCLUDES the country’s 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.”
Perez emphasized there was no point at which the EEZ and continental shelf were being included under “other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction” because we simply do not have sovereignty over the EEZ.
Our Sovereignty, Perez explained, is only until the end of the Territorial Sea boundary which is 12 nautical miles from the territorial baseline.
A frustrated Perez remarked it was very clear Hilbay is clueless WHAT AN EEZ IS.
Perez stated the Philippines has full jurisdiction and FULL SOVEREIGNTY over our Territory and Territorial Waters BUT, we do not have sovereignty over our EEZ.
In fact, Perez insisted, PH does not have Sovereign Rights over the waters of the EEZ itself, our Sovereign Rights are to the RESOURCES, particularly those found within and under the Seabed.
Sadly, the Philippines certainly does not have sovereign rights over the Surface Waters of the EEZ because the Surface Waters of the EEZ are actually INTERNATIONAL WATERS, as per UNCLOS!
In frustration, Perez asked how did such an idiotic fool with lousy English-language comprehension skills like FLORIN HILBAY become a Bar “topnotcher?”
Perez said Hilbay is destroying the reputation of the Legal Profession in the Philippines because he is forcing a subjective interpretation based on his own caprices, partisan preferences, and biased opinion, instead of understanding the objective facts based on what UNCLOS has defined!
Perez lamented the irony HILBAY used RA 8550 to state his case when within the text of RA 8550, there is also Section 4, item 18 which states:
“18. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ. – an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea which shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines as defined under existing laws.”
In other words, the EEZ is correctly being identified as being BEYOND and ADJACENT to the territorial sea. “Beyond,” meaning OUTSIDE the territorial sea, and therefore outside our territory.
Perez ended the long FB post wondering how Hilbay whose English language abilities is substandard, can function properly as a lawyer if he lacks facility in English because that is the language which the vast majority of the PH laws and legal decisions are written in.
Are his English language abilities really that substandard? I don’t mean to be elitist in terms of my having grown up with English as the language I feel most comfortable in, but Hilbay simply cannot function properly as a Filipino lawyer if he lacks facility in English because that is the language in which the vast majority of our laws and legal decisions are written in!