Hague tribunal sets new deadline for Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday, July 14, announced that a UN-backed tribunal has given Manila a new deadline to bolster its historic case against Beijing over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

"The Philippines has until July 23, 2015, to give its written submission to the tribunal to amplify its answers to questions posed by individual members of the tribunal," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a bulletin. 

The arbitral tribunal handling the Philippines' case at The Hague, Netherlands, issued this deadline on Monday, July 13. 

Monday was the last day of arguments on the tribunal's jurisdiction or right to hear the Philippines' case. 

Valte said the Philippines on Monday also addressed "additional and clarificatory questions from the tribunal." 

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay delivered the Philippines' closing statement, Valte said.

From July 7 to 13, the tribunal decided to hold the oral arguments behind closed doors.

3-month wait 

The tribunal allowed observers such as Vietnam, however, to attend the hearings.

The Philippines also gave Filipinos a peek into its basic arguments by releasing Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario's statement at The Hague. (READ: EXPLAINER: Philippines' 5 arguments vs China)

Del Rosario, for one, told the tribunal that China's expansive claim over the disputed waters threatens the law of the sea.

He added that China "irreversibly damaged" the environment by building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea. 

Led by American lawyer Paul Reichler, a powerhouse team is defending the Philippines at The Hague. (READ: PH lawyer vs China: 'Giant slayer' who defeated US

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose reportedly said the tribunal is likely to rule on jurisdiction around 3 months later. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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