international law

Who’s who: Meet the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s new members from the Philippines 

Bea Cupin

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Who’s who: Meet the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s new members from the Philippines 

PRESIDENT. Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya leads the Administrative Council's approval of the budget of the PCA for 2024.

(1st UPDATE) Four Filipinos – all distinguished personalities here and abroad – begin a six-year term as Members of the Court

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday, January 4, announced that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s International Bureau confirmed the appointment of four new Filipino members of the court.

They are:

  • Dr. Raul Pangalangan
  • Prof. Sedfrey Candelaria
  • Dr. Antonio Gabriel M. La Viña
  • Philippine Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya

According to the DFA, their names were submitted before the PCA by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo. The PCA’s roster of its members indicate that the four were nominated or appointed on December 22, 2023.

But what is the PCA and what will Pangalangan, Candelaria, La Viña, and Malaya be doing as its members?

Arbitration court

The PCA is based in The Hague, Netherlands and is the “first permanent intergovernmental organization to provide a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means,” according to its own website.

It was created in 1899 through the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which was held during the first Hague Peace Conference.

“Today the PCA provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties,” reads the PCA’s official website.

Most Filipinos – or at least those who have kept abreast of the Philippine claims in the South China Sea – would remember the PCA as the body before which Manila filed an arbitration case against China over maritime disputes in those resource-rich waterway.

From 2013 to 2016, the PCA was registry and the literal venue at which hearings were held over Beijing’s activities in part of the South China Sea, known to Manila as the West Philippine Sea.

In that case – and in most other arbitration cases – the PCA formed a tribunal composed of one to five members. Arbitrators can technically be from any origin as long as the PCA considers that person “most appropriate, subject to the parties’ agreement and the rules governing the arbitration.”

Potential arbitrators are also selected from the Members of the Court.

Each member state – all 122 of them – designates up to four members who are “of known competency in questions of international law, of the highest moral reputation, and disposed to accept the duties of arbitrator.”

The four members are then considered that state’s national group. According to the DFA, this gives them “the privilege to nominate candidates for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and propose candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, in collaboration with the ICJ judges.”

Terms for members of the PCA last for six years at a time and may be renewed.

Who are representing the Philippines for the next six years in the PCA?

Raul Pangalangan is no stranger to international bodies. He is also familiar with The Hague. The lawyer and law professor once served as a judge in the International Criminal Court, also based in The Hague, from 2015 to 2021.

Pangalangan holds a political science and law degree from the University of the Philippines. He also has Masters of Law and Doctor of Juridicial Science degrees from Harvard University, according to his official profile on the UP Diliman College of Law website.

He was also the Philippine delegate in the drafting of the Rome Statute, which created the ICC. He was also a former publisher of the broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Sedfrey Candelaria was dean of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law from 2012 to 2018. He has also been a teacher of undergraduate courses in the Political Sciences Department and European Studies Program of the same university’s Loyola Schools, according to his Philippine Judicial Academy profile.

In the Philippine Judicial Academy, Candelaria heads the Research, Publications and Linkages Office.

Candelaria earned a law degree from Ateneo, and a masters of laws degree from the University of British Columbia. He has also sat as a Peace Panel Member in previous attempts to negotiate with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, according to his PHILJA profile.

Tony La Viña was once a member of the PCA’s Specialized Panel of Arbitrators and Experts for Environmental Disputes. He is Associate Director for climate policy and international relations of Manila Observatory (MO), after having served as its Executive Director previously.

La Viña, on his official website, describes himself as a “teacher, thinker, leader, lawyer, human rights and climate justice advocate, and social entrepreneur.”

Dean Tony to friends and followers, La Viña holds a Philosophy degree from the Ateneo de Manila and a law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law. He also holds Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees from Yale Law School.

According to his official website, he has taught in different institutions, including Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, the different schools and colleges under the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, among others.

La Viña is also a member of Rappler’s Board of Directors and regularly writes for this news website’s Thought Leaders section. 

Eduardo Malaya is currently the Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands and Acting President of the PCA Administrative Council from 2023 until 2024. Prior to his posting in the Netherlands, Malaya was Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the Philippine Society of International Law.

Malaya, a lawyer, has also previously served as the Philippines’ Ambassador to Malaysia and DFA spokesperson. To say that Malaya is awarded is an understatement – he is the recipient of different awards, citations and distinctions from several Philippine presidents and even the Philippine Congress.

The Philippine Ambassador to The Hague is also a prolific writer, having published nine books covering international law and diplomacy. He also happens to be the brother of Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson and assistant director-general of the Philippines’ National Security Council. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.