08 July 2015

Philippines presents case before Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague
The Philippines has begun presenting its case before the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands, to convince the tribunal that it has jurisdiction to hear the country’s case against China.

“The Philippine delegation composed of representatives from all three branches of government has begun presenting its arguments for the Philippines’ position before the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Peace Palace at The Hague, Netherlands,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a news bulletin issued on Wednesday.

Valte said Solicitor General Florin Hilbay introduced the case for the Philippines and presented the order of speakers for the hearing on Tuesday.

“Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario made an impassioned plea for the Tribunal to recognize its jurisdiction due to the importance of the case, not just to our country but to the entire world, owing to its impact on the application of the Rule of Law in maritime disputes,” she added.

Valte said Paul Reichler, Chief Counsel for the Philippines, presented the justification for the Tribunal’s jurisdiction over the Philippine claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Professor Philippe Sands followed Reichler’s presentation by stating that the Philippines did not raise questions of sovereignty over land or raise questions of maritime delimitation.

Valte said the first round of the Philippines’ arguments will continue on Wednesday (July 8) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Manila time) for the morning session, and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (about 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Manila time) for the afternoon session. PND (jm)

PTV-4 to get ‘new blood’ under reorganization
The Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GCG) has approved the new organizational structure for the People’s Television Network, Inc. (PTV-4), which would allow it to fill key positions and infuse “new blood” into the organization, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Wednesday.

“The approval of the reorganization by the GCG ushers in a new era for PTV-4 as it transforms into a competitive, responsive and reliable public broadcasting network that caters to the information needs of the Filipino people,” Secretary Coloma said.

Under Republic Act No. 10390 or the PTV Revitalization Act, which was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2013, the state-owned network will be allowed to accept commercial advertising to sustain its operations and to modernize its broadcasting capability through the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment.

Coloma called on all government agencies and the private sector to support PTV-4’s operations through advertising placements, saying that the network “now has the capacity to provide optimum mileage for potential advertisers through its expanded operations and improved programming”.

As it undergoes reorganization, the network’s new programming will focus on education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, and its manpower composition will be revamped to accommodate new talents, who can “ride the digital wave” and adapt to the latest trends in the television industry.

The government, he said, wants a network that can inspire Filipinos and at the same time enable them to make enlightened decisions to improve their lives. PND (as)

Malacañang defends hiring of foreign lawyer to represent Philippines at Arbitral Tribunal
The Palace on Wednesday defended the hiring of a foreign counsel to represent the Philippines at the Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, in the country’s territorial dispute with China.

“You hire someone on the basis of competence. You hire someone on the basis of expertise and the field of knowledge that one possesses,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, commenting on reports that lawyer Harry Roque has questioned the government move to enlist the help of a foreign lawyer to defend the Philippines’ case against China at the tribunal.

“We have the knowledge, but insofar as appearing before the international tribunal, you get the best persons that you can hire for that,” Lacierda told reporters during the daily press briefing in Malacañang.

“When you call on international arbitration, for instance, in other cases that the Philippine government has appeared before, we’ve always hired experts on those issues,” he added, noting that it would be foolhardy for the country not to hire experts who have experience in appearing before such courts.

On why the government sent a big delegation to The Hague, Lacierda said this shows that everyone in the government supports the case against China.

“This is a very important issue for the country and it shows the unity of the three branches of government in presenting this issue before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS),” he explained.

The government has hired Paul Reichler as the Philippines’ Chief Counsel at the ITLOS.

Reichler, who graduated cum laude from the Harvard Law School in 1973, is a partner at the 70-year-old law firm Foley Hoag in the United States. He co-chairs the firm’s International Litigation and Arbitration Department.

Chambers Global, which has been ranking the world’s best law firms and lawyers since 1990, has described Reichler as one who “belongs to a select group of elite lawyers with extensive experience litigating on behalf of sovereign states before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in Hamburg”.

Reichler has expressed his eagerness to help poor countries, saying that smaller countries should at least have an equal footing before the international tribunals, despite their economic or military weakness, compared to big and powerful states. PND (as)