Philippines: Senators to pursue VFA case before SC

  • Senators are pushing through with their bipartisan plan to question before the Supreme Court (SC) President Duterte’s decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States without the concurrence of the chamber.
  • Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he would join Senate President Vicente Sotto III and other administration senators in filing a petition that will question in the SC the President’s move to abrogate the military pact that lawmakers and defence officials have warned could seriously undermine the country’s security, especially with China’s intrusions in the West Philippine Sea.
  • “This will be a bipartisan move to assert the Senate’s role in foreign policy. While the President is the chief architect of our foreign policy, the Constitution is clear that such a very critical role is shared with Congress, particularly the Senate,” Drilon said in a statement.
  • In an interview with radio station dwIZ , he said Sotto relayed to him that he is already preparing the petition and asked him to be a co-author.
  • On 12 Feb 20, Sotto said the Senate fully respects Duterte’s prerogative on foreign policy, but senators wants the SC to rule once and for all whether or not the chamber’s nod is needed for the termination of any treaty.
  • Drilon said that since the Constitution is silent on the termination of treaties and international agreement, it is only the SC that can rule with finality on the issue.

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