MANILA — The Supreme Court has invalidated as unconstitutional the Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JSMU) in the Agreement Area in the South China Sea by and among China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).
The decision was released in full only on Friday (17 March 2023) but promulgated on January 10, 2023, a prepared statement said.
As a result of this, the Department of Energy said it will study the Supreme Court decision and its implications.
“The DOE will work closely with the Office of the Solicitor General and
the Department of Justice in determining the next steps to be taken on the matter,” Energy Undersecretary Alessandro O. Sales said.
The JMSU was signed on March 14, 2005, before the incumbent Secretary of Energy Raphael P.M. Lotilla assumed office in his first tenure as Energy Secretary.
Sec. Lotilla only assumed office on July 11, 2022.
The Philippine party to the JMSU was PNOC, represented by then PNOC President and CEO Eduardo V. Manalac.