The camp of former president and present Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underscored Thursday (April 20) that it was throughout the time of Benigno Aquino III that China began its island-building actions within the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“The principal achievement of the GMA administration on the law of the sea is the enactment of RA 9522 which defines the baselines of the Philippine archipelago,” Arroyo’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza mentioned in a press convention on the House of Representatives (HOR).

Mendoza claimed that even with the enactment of RA 9522, there was “relative peace and quiet” within the area.

“China did not file a protest. China did not contest our baselines implicitly. China implicitly recognized our 200-nautical economic zone,” the veteran litigator mentioned.

Mendoza mentioned that it was solely after the Aquino administration’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) case towards China’s nine-dash line declare in 2013 that the regional energy began to get aggressive within the WPS.

Arroyo, who sat beside Mendoza throughout the press convention, chimed in a number of occasions that the prevailing Chinese constructions on contested islands “were built during the previous administration,” and never hers.

President Aquino took over Malacañang from Arroyo in 2010.

“China outflanked us. While we were winning in The Hague, China was winning in the waters. That’s the biggest problem of Duterte administration,” Mendoza mentioned.