MARCH 27, 2019 – Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio defended his statement raising the possibility of China taking over the gas fields in Reed Bank, after Malacañang called his position “misplaced.”
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo asserted that the area remains public property and President Rodrigo Duterte has no intention to change it.
“Magiging patrimonial property lang ang isang public property kung merong enabling law saying pwede ‘yan o may proclamation ang Presidente,” he explained.
Panelo even cited the decision Carpio penned in 2002 to back up his argument.
In response, Carpio used the Oil and Exploration Development Act of 1972 to refute Panelo’s claim. The Department of Energy already granted a service contract to Forum Energy to exploit the gas in Reed Bank pursuant to this law which was amended by Presidential Decree No. 1857 in 1983.
“Section 8 of this law states: ‘The (service) contract may authorize the Contractor to take and dispose of and market either domestically or for export all petroleum produced under the contract subject to supplying the domestic requirements of the Republic of the Philippines on a pro-rata basis’,” Carpio wrote.
“This law proclaims the oil and gas covered by a service contract as subject to sale to the market – which makes such oil and gas patrimonial,” he added.
Carpio also explained that the power to reclassify from public domain to patrimonial is a legislative power.
“The president’s power to so reclassify was merely delegated by Congress,” he said.