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Late lang ‘yung papel: Duterte claims arbitral court decided on case vs. China 3 months before term started

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President Rodrigo Duterte insists that the arbitral ruling on the maritime dispute in the South China Sea was handed down before he assumed office, even if facts state otherwise.

In a speech in Negros Occidental Sunday (May 20), Duterte said the ruling of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decided in the Philippines’ favor two or three months before he assumed office.

He said the government only received the ruling when he was already President.

“The fate of that started two months before, three months before akong pumasok. Because it was already announced there was the arbitration decision. Dumating lang nga ‘yung papel sa atin, officially it was handed to us,” he said.

The PCA issued a ruling invalidating China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea on July 12, 2016 or two weeks after Duterte assumed office.

But even if the arbitral court issued the ruling when he was President, Duterte said there was not much he could have done.

“If I were President at the time, anong magawa ko? I can send my Marines there. I can send every police there. But what will happen? They will all be massacred,” he said.