Carpio reiterates warning over Reed Bank
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reiterated that China could seize the country’s gas reserves in gas-rich Reed Bank if it is unable to pay its US$62-million loan for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.
The senior magistrate Carpio noted 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 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 said patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use includes the rich gas fields in Reed Bank.
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.
Panelo even cited a 2002 resolution penned by Carpio himself which declared that a public property cannot just be converted to patrimonial property.