No temporary restraining order on Philippine-China $62-M loan deal

April 10, 2019

THE Supreme Court yesterday did not issue a temporary restraining order stopping the $62-million loan agreement between the Philippines and China for the Chico River project.

Instead, the SC gave the Office of the Solicitor General 10 days to answer the petition filed by some progressive lawmakers who questioned the deal’s constitutionality.

In their petition, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and some party-list lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc alleged that the deal was unconstitutional because it contains an express waiver of sovereign immunity over the country’s patrimonial assets in favor of China.

The petitioners noted that the contract will show that the government has allowed its patrimonial assets to stand as security for unpaid obligations under the loan agreement.

”These assailed provisions open the possibility for China to acquire patrimonial properties in the Philippines (which) is tantamount to ceding in favour of China certain territories in the Philippines by virtue of our default in our contractual obligations. This situation obviously impacts negatively on our national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and is inimical to our national interest,” read the petition.

They cited Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, which reads: “All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated.     `    The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State.”