'Urgent' review of EDCA sought in Senate | Inquirer News

‘Urgent’ review of EDCA sought in Senate

/ 07:43 PM January 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Monday sought the urgent review of the validity and implementation of the Enhanced Defense Corporation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States.

Marcos filed Senate Resolution No. 299 which “expresses the sense of the Senate that the validity and implementation of the Enhanced Defense Corporation Agreement (EDCA) between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America be urgently reviewed.”

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The senator filed the resolution amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to terminate another agreement between the Philippines and the US—the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Marcos had earlier said that the Philippine government should instead terminate EDCA over VFA.

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“EDCA should be terminated because it indirectly allows the United States military to skirt the constitutional ban on foreign bases in the Philippines and makes the country a potential target of America’s adversaries,” the resolution reads.

EDCA was signed in 2014 as a supplement to the VFA.

Under EDCA, the Philippines and the US would “maintain and develop individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack in the effort to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two States through joint and combined military training, security cooperation exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and other activities as may be agreed upon between both parties.”

The Senate questioned the agreement in 2016, to no avail, after the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality.

But Marcos said that EDCA “has made the United States troops a permanent presence in Philippine territory, clearly conflicting with the Constitutional mandates of sovereignty and treaty ratification.”

On Monday morning, Marcos said that the termination of the VFA may lead to the Philippines losing custody of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who was convicted for the killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude in a motel in Olongapo City in October 2014.

“Baka matuwa pa nga ang U.S. pag nawala na ang VFA kasi pwede pa rin naman pumasok ang mga tropang Amerikano sa bansa natin dahil sa Mutual Defense Treaty at EDCA [Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement], pero wala nang hawak ang Pilipinas sa mga kasong kriminal kung mangyari man,” she said in a statement.

(The US may even rejoice if the VFA is abrogated because American troops may still come to our country because of the Mutual Defense Treaty and EDCA, but the Philippines will have no longer have jurisdiction over criminal cases that would be committed by their troops.)

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