Ex-DFA chief supports legal track on WPS

'I personally believe that that is the right approach,' says former top diplomat Alberto Romulo

FORMER DFA CHIEF. Roberto Romulo was Foreign Secretary from 1992 to 1995. Screenshot from video by Katherine Visconti

MANILA, Philippines – Former top diplomat Roberto Romulo supports the Aquino administration’s decision to seek international arbitration to settle the dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

(Editor’s note: We earlier mistook Roberto Romulo for Alberto Romulo, also former Foreign Secretary from 2004 to 2011. We apologize for the error.)

“I personally believe that that is the right approach,” Romulo told Rappler on the sidelines of a maternal health public-private partnership (PPP) program in Manila on Wednesday, February 6.

The former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs (1992-1995) said that “win or lose, [the legal track is] good for the Philippines [and it] attempts to convince the Chinese government that [China] should act like a superpower should act.”

Romulo also expressed confidence in the arbitral tribunal eventually ruling in favor of the Philippines over its territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea, even if China rejects the proceedings.

“There still could be an award given; there is a clause. You can do that,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario announced on January 22 that the Philippines would elevate its territorial dispute with China to an arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). – with reports from Katherine Visconti and Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com