MANILA — A Chinese firm that is set to build an airport in Cavite province will be included in the case against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court, one of its petitioners said Thursday.
The case accuses Xi and other Chinese leaders of “crimes against humanity” in the West Philippine Sea, where Beijing has stepped up militarization and island-building activities.
“In our, what amounts as, motion for reconsideration, we are impleading the executives of the Chinese construction company for having been instrumental in the building of artificial islands,” said former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
Morales said she was referring to the CCCC or China Communications Construction Co Ltd.
President Rodrigo Duterte this month gave the go-signal for the Sangley Airport project, which state-owned CCCC and Lucio Tan's MacroAsia bagged in 2019.
CCCC is one of 24 firms that the US recently blacklisted for their alleged involvement in Beijing’s militarization projects in the disputed South China Sea.
The ICC in December junked the communication by Morales and and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario against Beijing. The court said China is not a state party to the Rome Statute — the treaty that established the ICC.
Morales said their group, which recently tapped the help of Retired Supreme Court justice Antonio, would file their motion for reconsideration this month.
“We insist that the crimes committed by Xi Jinping et al were committed within Philippine territory and also within the Exclusive Economic Zone,” she said of the appeal.
Morales said her group remained “very confident” that the case would prosper.
“Before we filed the communication, we spent days and weeks on end to reflect on our chances … Irrespective of whether there is precedent, we are very confident that we will win this case,” she said.
Beijing has snubbed the 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed court that junked its sweeping claims to nearly all of the South China Sea.
President Rodrigo Duterte has largely shelved the decision in favor of loans and investments from Beijing. But in his first speech before the UN on Tuesday, he said the Philippines "firmly rejects" any attempt to undermine the award.
“That’s an optimistic development. Finally, he took it upon himself to say that the arbitral tribunal should stand, it cannot be the subject of any compromise or any different interpretation by different parties,” said Morales.
“The President made a good start. What he probably should do now is to publicly request or intimate to other countries to support us in our quest for the implementation of the arbitral ruling,” she added.
The US, the UK, Germany, France and Australia recently rejected China’s “historic claims” over nearly 90 percent of the waterway through which international trade worth trillions of dollars passes yearly.
-- With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News