Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Tuesday said an international tribunal's unanimous ruling in favor of the Philippines against China upholds the rule of law.
Carpio, in a statement, said the Permanent Court of Arbitration's (PCA) ruling "re-affirms the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the Constitution for the oceans."
UNCLOS has been ratified by 167 states, including China and the Philippines.
He said the Tribunal's ruling "re-affirms mankind’s faith in the rule of law in peacefully resolving disputes between States and in rejecting the use or threat of force in resolving such disputes. This rule of law is enshrined in the United Nations Charter."
"The ruling applies the fundamental law of the sea principle that 'land dominates the sea,' that is, any claim to maritime zones must emanate from land and can extend only to the limits prescribed under UNCLOS. No state can claim almost an entire sea contrary to this fundamental principle and maritime limits," Carpio added.
He said the ruling also re-affirms "the wisdom of the Philippine Constitution in renouncing war as an instrument of national policy, and in adopting international law as part of the laws of Philippines."
"The ruling manifests the faithful compliance by the Philippine Government to the Philippine Constitution, which mandates that the 'State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens,'" he added.
The Hague-based PCA's unanimous, landmark ruling deals a major legal blow to China's claims in the area rich in seafood and other resources.
"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the court said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources.
In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work.
China, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it will not be bound by any ruling.