[Blog] Courage and Defiance: The Philippines’ act of standing up against China. By Jose Mario de Vega

Courage and Defiance: The Philippines’ act of standing up against China
By Jose Mario de Vega

I refer to the report of TJ Burgonio “PH defies China warning”, of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 29th with regard to the Philippines’ act of filing the pleading on the sea dispute.

To quote from the said report:

“Unfazed by threats of sanctions from China, the government yesterday said it was pursuing its case in the United Nations challenging Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea, including areas Manila says is part of Philippine territory.

Mario De Vega

“The Philippines is to file as scheduled its memorandum or formal pleading Sunday (Manila time), which would allow the UN Arbitral Tribunal to study Manila’s argument that the Chinese claim covers parts of Filipino territory.

“President Aquino’s deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government was pursuing the case despite official Chinese warnings of a fall-out in bilateral relations.

“China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei warned the Philippines on Wednesday against proceeding with the UN case.”

On their part, this is what the Chinese foreign ministry said in a news conference in Beijing:

“China will never accept nor participate in the international arbitration unilaterally initiated and pushed by the Philippines, and China’s position has a solid basis in international law…”


Let us look firmly and dissect closely the blatant inner contradictions of Mr. Hong’s pronouncement.

First, that so-called foreign spokesperson stated that, they China will never accept nor participate in the international arbitration, because it was unilaterally initiated and pushed singly by the Philippines.

The question here is: how could the international arbitration be a unilateral act of the Philippines when in fact, said position of the said country with regard to this universally high profile case was being supported by the international community?

Besides Spain, Germany, the US, “a bloc of more than 60 democracies around the world has backed the Philippines’ effort to settle its maritime dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) peacefully by submitting it to the United Nations for arbitration.”

In his article, “Centrist bloc backs Philippines in row with China”, Amando Doronila of the PDI, March 24 stated that:

“In a one-page resolution passed on March 19, the Brussels-based Centrist Democratic International (CDI) not only condemned in extraordinarily strong language “the forcible takeover and occupation of the Scarborough Islands (Panatag Shoal) in the (West Philippine Sea),” affirming that the territory is “possessed and occupied by the Philippines as part of its continental shelf and within its exclusive economic zone,” but also urged China to “pursue peaceful, lawful and internationally sanctioned rules on dispute resolution to remove rising tensions in the region.””

So, again, if I may ask that Mr. Hong: is this what you call as the Philippines’ unilateral action?

The so-called foreign minister asserted that his country’s position “has a solid basis in international law”; yet the question here is: what international law is he referring to?

If truly the position of his country has solid basis in international law, then why the hell they are not participating to that court which is recognized by the international community (they themselves ratified this law way back in 1982) which has given it its jurisdiction and power to hear and decide cases of this nature?

Another material and pertinent question I would like to pose to the spokesperson of the Chinese foreign minister is:

If the position of China has a strong basis in international law, then how come your country is requesting the Philippines to delay the filing of the said pleading (also known as a memorial)?

As reported by Ellen T. Tordesillas, “PH ignores China request to delay filing of Memorial vs 9-dash line”, Vera Files, March 28:

“Despite Chinese requests to delay it, the Philippines is filing on March 30 its memorandum challenging before the United Nations China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea

“The memorandum, called a Memorial in international law, will be filed with the Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at The Hague in the Netherlands, contesting China’s 9-dash line territorial rule.

“Under the 9-dash line rule, China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea as part of its territory, but the Philippines and three other Southeast Asian nations are staking various claims to parts of the area.

“Sources said the Chinese government had asked President Aquino through back channels to wait a little longer before filing the Memorial.”

Mr. Hong, is this the act of a country whose contention has a solid basis under international law:
That is to ask the Philippines to delay the filing of the pleading or the memorial?

What happened to your contention? What is the basis now of your position? Why on earth your country is asking the Philippines to delay the said filing?

It was also reported on the article that a Chinese official said that:

“In our culture, bringing someone to court is like assaulting him.”


I am wondering, is it also part of Chinese culture to grab territories not righteously theirs? Is it part of Chinese culture to bully small countries? Is it part of Chinese culture to engage in intimidation and slander?

How dare you to call us as immoral and troublemaker and all those preposterous accusations since April of 2012 when in fact and in truth, it is your country that is engaged in a consistently immoral, unfair, unjust and utterly provocative manner?

I would like to ask China categorically: what is your concept of justice, fairness, morality and ethics?

Further, Mr. Hong also stated in Beijing that:

“We hope that the Philippine side … returns to the right track of resolving the dispute through negotiation and consultation as soon as possible, (and) stops going any further down the wrong track so as to avoid further damage to bilateral relations.”


Is this what Mr. Hong’s definition or concept of international law? That is to talk and to consult with them bilaterally? And if the Philippines will not do so, our bilateral relations will be damage?

Wow! Such a bloody bully, it seems to me!

For the benefit of that Chinese official and the whole of the Chinese people, “the documents that the Philippines submitted to the tribunal in The Hague consist of nearly 4,000 pages explaining the merits of the country’s case against China.”

That to say the least is quite a voluminous bunch of documents. As reported by Bong Lozada,
“What’s this thick memo vs China?”, Global Nation, PDI, March 30th:

“And what’s in this thick document?

“1) Volume 1 comprises the Philippines’ analysis, inside 270 pages, of the “applicable law and the relevant evidence.”

“2) Also, the first volume says that the Arbitral Tribunal jurisdiction over all the claims made by the Philippines and the country’s Statement of Claim.

“3) For the rest of the memorial, volumes 2 through 10, has the documentary evidence and maps that support the country’s claim in the disputed islands.

“4) Volumes 2 through 10 together is almost 3,700 pages that contains almost 40 maps that serve as supporting evidence for Volume 1.

“5) Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said the memorial also disputes the nine-dash line that China imposed. “The memorial presents the Philippines’ case on the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal and the merits of its claims,” Del Rosario said.”

Now, the ultimate question is: “And what is the ultimate purpose of the thick memo?”

I overwhelmingly concur with the Philippine Foreign Secretary, Alberto Del Rosario that the contents of the memorial is in defense of the Philippines’ “national interest…[the memorial is about] defending what is legitimately ours; it is about securing our children’s future. It is about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations.”

Further it is also “about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations, it is about helping to preserve regional peace, security and stability.”

Hence to China and their officials may I remind you of the words of your dear leader, Deng Xiaoping as quoted by a noted Filipino jurist!

According to a local magistrate of the Philippine Supreme Court, Justice Antonio Carpio:

“The world should now remind China of Deng Xiaoping’s solemn commitment to the world when he declared in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on April 10, 1974:

A superpower is an imperialist country which everywhere subjects other countries to its aggression, interference, control, subversion or plunder and strives for world hegemony. If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too would play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialist, expose it, oppose it and work with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”

Hence, you must thank us the Filipino people so as the Vietnamese for standing up against you and telling you to return to your leader’s words of wisdom.

You all have to thank us for reminding you that you have strayed your ways and forgotten your promise to the world!

The world no longer needs an empire or another imperialist bloc. Be happy on what you have and leave us alone!

For justice and reason’s sake: GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA!!!

If not, then we shall shout and scream at you that we will use all the means at our disposal reasonably. We are declaring that we will proceed against you using legal and peaceful methods where it is still possible and if it needs be we will resist you by force of arms, by iron and by blood, when it is necessary.

For the million and one time, you have been warned!!!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Liberal Arts
Department of Social Science
Technological University of the Philippines

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