SUPREME Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio yesterday reiterated that powerhouse China could seize the gas-rich Reed Bank if the country were unable to pay its US$62-million loan for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.
Carpio cited a provision in the loan agreement in which the Philippines waived its immunity to its patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use.
Patrimonial assets refer to properties owned by the Philippines in its private capacity and not for public use, public service or intended for development of national wealth.
Under paragraph 8.1 of the Loan Agreement, the Philippines expressly waived immunity over all its assets except those used as properties of Philippine embassies and missions; those under Philippine military control; and those assets for “public or governmental use as distinguished from patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use.”
Carpio issued this statement in response to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s claim that the magistrate’s concern was “misplaced,” saying that public property like the Reed Bank could not be sold or given away unless it is first converted to patrimonial property through a law.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra allayed fears over China’s possible take over of Reed Bank.
“I think we’re just really jumping the gun. Parang (we are) too well ahead of what may happen. I think we really don’t have much to worry,” Guevarra said.
“According to the DoF (Department of Finance), nothing unusual about this contract. It’s something like a template that has been used in so many other loan agreements. So, I guess we are just really worrying too much.”
“I don’t think we even have to think about that problem in the future because the intention of the government is to honor all of its loan obligations,” Guevarra said.