Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has lauded the filing of a formal complaint before the International Court (ICC) against Chinese President Xi Jinping and his other officials for crimes committed in the disputed South China Sea (SCS)
On the sideline of one of the trumped-up cases in Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205, De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, called the move “bold and unprecedented” and “very laudable.”
In her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 491, De Lima also called the move “remarkable,” especially during these times when the President himself is incapable of defending the country and the Filipinos against Chinese incursions and abuses.
“Because of the inaction and disinterest by this administration to do anything in spite of mounting evidence of Chinese abuses in our territory, our fisherfolks, backed by two illustrious and highly respected public figures, have no choice but to take matters in their own hands,” she said.
De Lima was referring to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who, along with a group of Filipino fishermen, filed a communication before the ICC against Xi and other Chinese officials.
“It was a good thing that we still had the opportunity to go to the ICC and show the world that our citizens would not stand China’s destruction of our natural resources and intimidation of our fishermen,” she added.
Del Rosario and Morales filed a formal communication last March 15 – or two days before the Philippines’ unilateral withdrawal from the international tribunal.
In their communication, the two former government officials argued that the “atrocious actions of Chinese officials in the South China Sea and within Philippine territory” constitute crimes against humanity that the ICC can prosecute.
Last year, concerns about the living conditions of Filipino fisherfolk in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, located in the South China Sea, locally referred to as the West Philippine Sea, were raised after reports surfaced that the fishermen were always defenseless and cannot do anything every time the Chinese would check their containers and pick their best catch.
“Ilang beses na ba natin narinig ang ating mga mangingisda na humihingi ng tulong sa ating Pangulong Duterte na ipagtanggol sila laban sa panggigipit at pang-aapi ng mga Tsino sa West Philippines Sea? Mayroon bang naging aksyon ng Pangulo dito maliban sa pagtatanggol sa Tsina?” the former justice secretary said.
The dire situation even led De Lima to file last year Senate Resolution (SR) No. 766 calling for an immediate Senate investigation into the reported harassment of Filipino fisherfolk by members of the Chinese Coast .
With Mr. Duterte and his officials’ consistent kowtowing to China, De Lima said it is already clear that their loyalty belongs to China and their Chinese masters and not to their own country and their Fellow Filipinos. “DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin just recently assured China that the Duterte government would look out for the welfare of Chinese in the Philippines and heaped praise for China’s ruling communist party. It was also just reported that Pres. Duterte is going back to China again this year; already his fourth visit in three years in office,” she said.