Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno Third Distinguished Lecture: The ASEAN Charter

The Supreme Court, through the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), in partnership with the ASEAN Law Association of the Philippines (ALA) and the Program Management Office, conducted the Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno Third Distinguished Lecture: The ASEAN Charter, on 19 February 2010, at the En Banc Session Hall, New Supreme Court Building, Padre Faura, Manila.

A total of 383 participants attended the lecture; 276 guests in Manila, while 49 and 58 guests attended by video-conference at the Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City, and Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City, respectively.

The lecture was delivered by Ambassador Rosario Gonzalez-Manalo, Senior Foreign Service Adviser to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and Philippine Governor in the Board of Governors of the Asia-Europe Foundation.

Atty. Avelino V. Cruz, in his Welcome Remarks, stated that the Distinguished Lecture launched the 3-day celebration of the ASEAN Law Association's 30th Anniversary and marked its first Governing Council Meeting in Manila in 5 years. He stressed that ALA's institutional framework has transcended its conference rooms, workshops, and legal publications and has spilled over to such fellowships as golf competitions and musical presentations.

Atty. Avelino V. Cruz giving his Welcome Remarks

Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, Head of Delegation, European Commission to the Philippines, delivered his reaction to the topic and compared ASEAN with the European Commission. He posed the following challenges to the ASEAN and EU: 1) search for competivity; 2) need to better translate economic/social weight into real political weight on the regional and global stage; 3) public perception; 4) establishment of a rules-based ASEAN community; 5) creation of ASEAN Social Charter, and 6) ASEAN Solidarity. He concluded that the future of Europe lies with the further evolution of the EU, so also the future of South East Asia lies with ASEAN, and in broader view, the shared futures, in a context of globalization, are intrinsically bound up with one another.

Mr. Jeffrey Wah Tech S.C., Deputy Solicitor-General, Attorney-General's Chambers of Singapore, delivered the last reaction. He discussed the origins of the ASEAN Charter and the functions of the ASEAN Eminent Persons Group (EPG). He also presented problems to a "rules-based ASEAN" and recommended solutions to remove such obstacles to make the ASEAN Charter meaningful.

Ambassador Alistair Macdonald giving his reaction to Ambassador Manalo's lecture

Justice Antonio T. Carpio while giving his
Opening Remarks

>Ambassador Manalo reviewed the history of the ASEAN and discussed the three pillars of the ASEAN community as follows: 1) ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC); 2) ASEAN Economic Community (AEC); and 3) ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). She stressed the importance behind the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) as a regional mechanism to promote and protect human rights, adding that the Terms of Reference creating AICHR was to accommodate the varying comfort levels on human rights of the different ASEAN Member-States with respect to human rights issues and concerns. She also discussed ASEAN as a rules-based organization with 1) legal personality, 2) privileges and immunities, and 3) dispute settlement mechanisms.

Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo delivering her lecture "The ASEAN Charter"

Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno,in his Closing Remarks, discussed the development of the ASEAN and its march towards integration which he attributed to the following factors: 1) ASEAN philosophy of consultation, compromise and consensus, and 2) ethnic, cultural and religious heterogeneity. He added that the ASEAN Charter is a blueprint of our destination which gives us hope where we had none before. He said,

" The ASEAN Charter may not be a perfect charter but its imperfection is no excuse for us not to move forward. Our challenge is to make it work and it will work in accordance with our wish, depending on our will."

The Master of Ceremonies was Justice Renato C. Corona. Atty. Danny Deen (Cebu) and Executive Judge Isaac Robillo, Jr. (Davao) were the moderators for the remote sites.

PHILJA-Information Systems Division, Administrative Office and Research, Publication and Linkages Office ©LAR2014

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