MANILA - Most Filipinos believe that the lawsuit filed by former Philippine government officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping in the International Criminal Court (ICC) tells the world that China should leave the West Philippine Sea.
The survey, conducted in March 2019, found that 49 percent of Filipino adults agreed with the statement: "“The suit filed in the ICC by Albert Del Rosario and Conchita Carpio-Morales, former officials of the PH government, against Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping for wrongful destruction of the livelihood of Filipino fisherman shows the world that China should leave the islands it has occupied in the West Philippine Sea."
Only 17 percent disagreed with the statement while 28 percent were undecided, equivalent to a net agreement score of +32, classified by SWS as "very strong."
The West Philippine Sea is the country's exclusive economic zone in the disputed South China Sea, resource-rich waters which Beijing claims in near entirety citing historical rights.
SWS also said net agreement to the statement is "very strong" regardless of trust or distrust to China as a country.
Agreement to the statement was also "very strong" in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, and among economic classes A, B, C, and D.
On March 13, Del Rosario, a former foreign affairs chief, Carpio-Morales, a former Ombudsman, and several Filipino fishermen affected by Chinese incursions in the contested waters filed a communication against Xi before the ICC for crimes allegedly committed in the South China Sea.
It was filed just days before the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC took effect on March 17. President Rodrigo Duterte had pulled the country out of the Rome Statute, the treaty creating the ICC, over the tribunal's probe on his deadly drug war.
Malacañang has distanced itself from the complaint.
It accused Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity in implementing Beijing's "systematic plan to control the South China Sea."
China has continued militarization and island-building in the disputed waters, ignoring a July 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal invalidating its excessive claims in the South China Sea.
The ruling was in response to a complaint filed by the Philippine government in 2013, led by Del Rosario, who was then top diplomat.
Conducted from Mar. 28 to 31, 2019, the SWS survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide and has a sampling error margin of ±2.6 percent for national percentages.