Department of Foreign Affairs

Filipino diplomat elected as top Permanent Court of Arbitration official

Sofia Tomacruz
Filipino diplomat elected as top Permanent Court of Arbitration official

NEW ROLE. Philippine ambassador to the Hague Eduardo Malaya, is elected as president of the administrative council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration from 2023-2024.

Eduardo Malaya's Twitter

Veteran diplomat Eduardo Malaya, the Philippines' ambassador to the Hague, is the first Filipino president of the administrative council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration

MANILA, Philippines – A veteran Filipino diplomat, Philippine Ambassador to the Hague Eduardo Malaya, is set to lead the administrative council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) as its new president.

The PCA is the world’s oldest tribunal dedicated to resolving international disputes through peaceful means. From 2013 to 2016, it also served as the registry or venue of the proceedings in the Philippines’ case against China over the South China Sea.

Malaya, who will hold the position from 2023 to 2024, will be the first Filipino to serve in this role since the PCA was formed in 1899.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines made the announcement on Thursday, December 29, as it expressed “pride and happiness” in Malaya’s election.

“The IBP considers this as an opportunity to uphold its commitment to advance all interests in the preservation of the rule of law. In this regard, the IBP strives to safeguard the ideals of achieving justice and peace through law,” the group said.

As head of the PCA’s administrative council, Malaya, along with other members of the group, will be in charge of shaping the organization’s policies. Malaya will also be responsible for supervision of its administration and use of the PCA’s budget.

After his election last December 15, Malaya said he looked forward to serving at the PCA as it prepares to mark its 125th anniversary in 2024, “a time for reflection as to how it can remain dynamic and relevant in our troubled world.”

The latest role is a milestone for Malaya, who was among key officials who pushed for the Philippines’ accession to the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes – a move that later paved the way for the country’s membership in the PCA.

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Malaya’s moves later proved fruitful as the Philippines filed its historic case against China at the PCA in the Hague in 2013. Years later, in 2016, the Philippines went on to win its landmark case against the regional giant, although China continues to reject the ruling.

“With us as a member already, of course, the secretariat of the PCA facilitated the assumption of and conduct of the case. So, really, international law can work! Not only for countries but also for people,” Malaya told Rappler in an interview in May 2021.

Before assuming his role as the country’s envoy to the Netherlands in 2021, Malaya was the Department of Foreign Affairs’ undersecretary for administration.

Malaya likewise led the agency’s office for Treaties and Legal Affairs first from 2007 to 2011 and later from 2017 to 2019. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.