MANILA (12-April-2012) – “Not only should Mrs. Arroyo be jailed for plunder, but more so because of this territorial treason.” This was the statement of Atty. Terry Ridon, spokesperson and general counsel of Kabataan Partylist as he blamed the past administration for merely considering Scarborough Shoal as a ‘regime of islands’ under the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) instead of declaring it part of our territorial waters.
The young lawyer said that by declaring the Scarborough Shoal as a mere regime of islands, the country had effectively lost full sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Group of Islands, thus subjecting our claim over these islands to mere diplomatic resolution.
“We are thus constrained to merely explore and exploit the resources found therein, instead of being able to exercise full political, economic and military sovereignty over these waters.”
He said that the Arroyo administration fully knew that they had passed the law from a ‘position of weakness and fear of China’, instead of valiantly staking our historical claim over these islands.
He said that the law had effectively ‘tied the hands of our own sovereignty’, such that even under our own laws, China would be justified in posting and defending its maritime ships around the disputed islands.
Baselines law exploited by China, US
Ridon said that even the US is exploiting the reconfiguration of Philippine territorial waters as archipelagic waters, noting that US warships and warplanes are now moving freely in waters between our major island groups.
“As these territorial waters are now considered archipelagic instead of internal waters as stated in the Constitution, we had effectively ceded full sovereignty to major world powers. The Chinese are in the Spratlys while the Americans are found wherever our archipelagic waters exist.”
Repeal Arroyo Baselines Law
“We challenge President Aquino to order the repeal of the Arroyo Baselines Law and restore full sovereignty over these islands and waters.”
He added that the Corona-led Supreme Court had upheld the law’s constitutionality despite been shown how absolutely detrimental the law had been to our national interest and sovereignty.
He said that all other similar laws and treaties must likewise be repealed and abrogated, including the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement.