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Arbitral ruling on South China Sea not shelved, just ‘unenforceable’ — Palace

Malacañang on Sunday denied that the Duterte administration has "shelved" the international tribunal ruling in 2016 which invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea, saying that it is unenforceable.

"This administration never shelved the arbitral ruling. It only remains unenforceable because no foreign force seems persuaded to help us enforce it, and neither do we have the capability of enforcing it alone by force," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

He added that "armed acts of enforcement" may cause a bloody war to the detriment of the Philippines.

This was in response to the statement of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario on Saturday urging the government to "unshelf" the said arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines amid Beijing's "aggression" in the disputed waters.

Panelo also said that Del Rosario was responsible for China's takeowver of Scarborough Shoal. 

"Mr. Del Rosario, being responsible for the loss of the country's possession of the Scarborough Shoal during his stint as Foreign Affairs Secretary by naively causing the withdrawal of our armed ship in the area of conflict, certainly can not put forward his pretended patriotism and feigned righteousness as if he has not contributed vastly to the unwelcome situation we are presently in," Panelo said.

To recall, Del Rosario led the filing of the landmark Philippine government arbitration case that challenged the validity of China's territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.

Together with former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the former DFA chief also sued Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials for allegedly committing crimes against humanity in connection with China's activities to gain control in the disputed South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Panelo said that the arbitral ruling is "irreversible" and "has the stamp of permanence."

He added that the Philippine government has recently made invocations and assertions to protect the country's sovereignty and right over its exclusive economic zone.

"We urge the Chinese government to respect it, and we hope the mechanism of bilateral negotiations between the countries forge a mutually satisfactory solution to the conflict based on internationally accepted principles of justice and reciprocity," Panelo said. — Dona Magsino/BM, GMA News