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China is challenging UNCLOS

“China’s claim is that the waters within the nine-dash lines are generated by land territory and hence, the controversy cannot be resolved under the UNCLOS. But clearly, the three specific prayers of the Philippines involve only issues of interpretation and application of specific provisions to UNCLOS relating to internal waters, territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zones, islands, and low tide elevations. While the Spratlys dispute without a doubt also involves land territory, this is not the subject of the Philippines’ claim.” – Atty. Harry Roque, UP Law Professor

Harry Roque's Blog

Following is an excerpt from my discussion in the recently concluded 5th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of International Law held last June 15, 2014 at Chuo University in Tokyo.

China’s snub of the Philippine arbitral claim on the West Philippine Sea and its slew of building projects on disputed reefs in the area are aserious and belligerent violations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which it is a party.

Its refusal to participate in the arbitration and its unilateral acts in building artificial islands in the disputed maritime area of the Spratlys constitute a serious breach of the UNCLOS. As a party to the Convention, China agreed to refer all matters involving interpretation and application of the UNCLOS to the compulsory and binding dispute settlement procedure of the Convention.

The international community took a very long time to agree on the provisions…

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Our obsession with Bar topnotchers

“…the Bar exams could not be a reliable measure of one’s preparedness to be a member of the Bar. Moreover, one’s success as a lawyer is not measured by how well one does in the Bar examinations. Here, it’s the successful barristers’ future conduct as lawyers that will determine his or her greatness as a lawyer. …
But an even more fundamental consideration is: what kind of lawyers are we producing with the obsession we have with topping the Bar examinations?” – Atty. Harry Roque

Harry Roque's Blog

UnknownUnknown-1The UP College of Law topped anew the 2014 Bar examinations with my student, Nielsen Pangan, placing first. His schoolmate, Mark Oyales, bagged the second place. Three other students from UP Law landed in the top 10: Eden Mopia was fourth, Michael Tiu was eighth and Cyril Arnesto was tenth.

This was the first time for UP Law to top the Bar Examinations since Joanne de Venecia placed first in 2005. In 2011, no one from UP placed in the top 10 of the Bar.

I am, of course, together with the entire UP community, ecstatic about the results. This is not just because I am a product and a professor of UP Law. It is more because every UP graduate’s success is a toast to the poor and the middle class in this country. The UP dream is the stuff that is written about in telenovelas: poor children dreaming…

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Bloggers equally protected as journalists

But outside the definition of who a journalist is, the actual distinction between a regular media outfit and bloggers is the existence of a hierarchy of editorial controls to ensure accuracy in the news and fairness in commentary. This is why traditional journalists themselves sometimes scoff at the notion that “just about anyone can be a journalist”. In fact, Philippine jurisprudence even distinguishes between the amount of latitude given to the media in making factual errors depending on whether it is a “weekly” or a “daily”, with the latter being given wider latitude for mistakes.

But all these miss the point. There is protection accorded by the bill of rights not just to freedom of the press, but to freedom of expression in general. The normative values of these two freedoms are identical: to discern the truth and to facilitate “open, robust and even virulent discussion of pubic issues”. If both freedoms have the same normative content, why should the courts distinguish between an input to the market place of ideas coming from one who earns a living by it and one who does so anyway as a public duty?

Reblogged from HarryRoque.com. Read more at: http://verafiles.org/bloggers-equally-protected-as-journalists/#sthash.puf4oLw8.dpuf


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Graft in Tacloban

Harry Roque's Blog

searchI had dinner recently with Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City. That was a first. I have been consistently an anti-Marcos activist since my grade school days. I’ve always thought that the Philippines would be a better place without the Marcoses and their conjugal half, the Romualdezes. Like the Aquino’s, my mother’s immediate family, including the Reyes clan of Pasig that gave the country the great statesman, Jovito Salonga, were victims of the Marcos dictatorship. Scars from those days will probably never heal. And perhaps, they should never heal if only to remind us of what dictatorships can do to a democracy.

But I was touched by the tale of Mayor Romualdez.

We’ve heard over and over again the Palace line that the local government is always the first line of defense. That is true because normally, the national government will not be in the area affected by a calamity.

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