MANILA, Philippines – The palace decided to hire international lawyers for its mediation case against China and they are rationalizing the said action.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, the Philippines hired the foreign lawyers based on their competence, expertise and field of knowledge. He also said that the Philippines hired international experts in other cases even before.
In a press conference, Lacierda said, “These are lawyers with international reputation on appealing before the international tribunal, so we can rely on them. They have been with us since we filed the petition before the ITLOS (International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea).”
The Presidential Spokesperson said that Filipino counsels still do not have the same amount of experience in international arbitration when asked if the government did not find local lawyers who are as competent as their foreign counterparts.
“We have the knowledge, but insofar as appearing before the international tribunal… You know, you get the best persons that you can hire for that,” he said.
“It will be foolhardy for us not to hire experts on appearing—those who have experience appearing before those tribunals. So, we are putting our best foot forward, both international and domestic,” he added.
He assured though that the foreign counsels and the government lawyers of the Philippines are synchronized.
The formal hearings on the South China Sea dispute started on Tuesday by The Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration The Hague, Netherlands.
The justification for the tribunal’s jurisdiction over the Philippine claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was presented by Paul Reichler, chief counsel for the Philippines during the first day of the hearings.
Then Professor Philippe Sands followed by saying that the Philippines did not raise questions of sovereignty over land or raise questions of maritime delimitation.
China on the other hand, has refused to participate in the arbitration.
The following represented the Philippines:
Agent:Florin Hilbay (Philippine solicitor general) Counsel
Paul Reichler and Lawrence Martin (Foley Hoag LLP, Washington DC, United States of America)
Professor Bernard Oxman (University of Miami School of Law, Miami, United States of America)
Professor Philippe Sands QC (Matrix Chambers, London, United Kingdom)
Professor Alan Boyle (Essex Court Chambers, London, United Kingdom)