Incoming Solicitor General Jose Calida has expressed hope that the Philippines will win its arbitration case against China over a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
In an interview with reporters at Royal Mandaya Hotel, Calida said “We are very hopeful that we will win this case.”
Calida’s comments came after he met with incumbent Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.
“During that meeting we only discussed the West Philippine Sea dispute with China,” Calida said.
“It’s really a complicated issue but according to the solicitor general now, around 70 to 80 percent we will win this case,” he added.
Just a few days ago, Group of Seven (G-7) issued a declaration voicing its collective concern over the sea disputes involving China and its neighboring countries, and urged all parties to work towards a peaceful resolution in accordance with international law.
In a declaration issued after a summit in Japan on May 27, the G-7 urged claimants in the territories in East China and West Philippine sea to refrain from “unilateral actions that could increase tensions” and avoid the use of “force or coercion in trying to drive their claims.”
The declaration also emphasized that judicial means, “including arbitration,” should be utilized.
Though there was no specific mention of any country, the contents of the declaration can be interpreted to be directed towards China, which is involved in territorial disputes with Japan in East China Sea and is in a legal battle against the Philippines over territories in the West Philippine Sea.
The call from the powerful G-7 came ahead of a ruling expected within weeks on Philippines’ case against China lodged at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. China continues to refuse to participate in the arbitration and does not recognize the international court as having jurisdiction over the case, despite an earlier ruling of the court stating otherwise.
When asked what will happen if the Philippines gets a favorable ruling from the The Hague, Calida echoed President-elect Duterte’s stance on the issue: “We will cross the bridge when we get there. We will wait for the decision then we will make our move.”