A number of San Beda College (SBC) alumni are urging their former schoolmate President Rodrigo Duterte to retract his disparaging statements on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) wherein he literally trashed the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague which awarded a legal victory to the Philippines and rejected China’s sweeping territorial claims.
In a “fraternal statement of concern” issued last week, at least 129 SBC graduates called out Mr. Duterte for failing to uphold the 1987 Constitution in demonstrably siding with China’s overarching assertions of sovereignty in the WPS.
So far, there was only silence coming from Duterte’s Lex Talionis fraternity in the San Beda College of Law.
“When a part of our country’s territory is taken against our will by China and our countrymen, particularly the fishermen, are threatened with force from exclusively enjoying our nation’s marine resources, the President is solemnly bound to uphold, defend and protect his countrymen ansd the integrity of our national territory,” the Bedan statement said.
Those who affixed their signatures to the petition are were mosltly from the grade school, high school, College of Arts and Sciences and College of Law.
In a television address in Malacanang last May 5, Duterte described the arbitral ruling simply as a piece of paper that should’ve been thrown in the wastebasket.
Ironically, the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration slammed China’s sweeping claims to the waters inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as delineated by the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
In a statement to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020, Mr. Duterte vowed to reject China’s attempts to undermine the historic ruling.
The SBC alumni have joined several groups who criticized the President for his “defeatist attitude” towards China’s unceasing illegal encroachment in the PH’s exclusive economic zone.
Mr. Duterte is a 1972 graduate of the San Beda College of Law.