MANILA - The Philippines' refusal to raise its victory over China before an international court could be seen as defaulting on its claim in the South China Sea, a former Cabinet security official said Friday.
Manila needs to "take firm action very soon" on the arbitration ruling, said Roilo Golez, who was national security adviser under the Arroyo government.
"Law is such a complicated issue that sometimes they might say that you have defaulted already on your claim," Golez told ANC's Early Edition.
"You have shown lack of interest. You had all the opportunity but did not use the opportunity so it can be used against us in the end," he said.
The United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration said last year that Beijing's vast claims over the resource-rich waters had no legal basis.
Last October, President Rodrigo Duterte said he made the "correct step" in handling the landmark ruling.
"What we did was really the correct step and to avoid confrontational talks with almost all of the parties concerned. I just [asked] for a limited time to solve the problem and sharing of the resources if it could be done," he said.
During the ASEAN meetings this week, China agreed with Southeast Asian leaders to start negotiations on a binding code of conduct in the disputed waters.
Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also have overlapping claims in the strategic waterway where $5 trillion in trade pass annually.
"What is missing (from the ASEAN Chairman's statement) is the mention that we won in the arbitral tribunal... What is missing there is the assurance that there will be no militarization," Golez said.