Several San Beda University alumni urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday to withdraw his public statements on the West Philippine Sea row and to uphold the Philippine Constitution.

In a statement, the San Beda alumni pointed to Duterte’s claims that China was in possession of the West Philippine Sea and that the 2016 arbitral ruling won by the Philippines was “a mere scrap of paper” that should be thrown away.

“[W]hen a part of our country’s territory is taken against our will by the People’s Republic of China and our countrymen, particularly the fishermen, are threatened with force from exclusively enjoying our nation’s marine resources, the President is solemnly bound to uphold, defend, and protect his countrymen and the integrity of our national territory,” the statement read.

Duterte finished law at the then San Beda College in 1972.

On May 5, Duterte said that he would throw away the country’s arbitral win over China’s excessive claims on the West Philippine Sea.

“Sabi nila itong papel na sa kaso nanalo tayo i-pursue mo. Pinursue ko, walang nangyari. Sa usapang bugoy, sabihin ko sa iyo ibigay mo sa’kin, sabihin ko sa’yo p***** ina, papel lang ‘yan. Itatapon ko ‘yan sa wastebasket,” he said during his late-night address.

This was despite his assertion during the 75th United Nations General Assembly, that the arbitral award has become part of international law and should not be undermined.

The alumni statement, with 125 signatories, said Duterte should “categorically, demonstrably and publicly uphold” the mandate of the Philippine constitution for the state to protect the country’s marine wealth.

Article XII, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution states that “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.” Charlene Grace Lao