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Other PH-US pacts ‘practically useless’ once VFA termination takes effect — Guevarra

/ 06:51 PM February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) will render “practically useless” other security agreements between the Philippines and the United States.

“The termination of the VFA will make the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) practically useless and the MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty) a hollow agreement,” Guevarra said.

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The EDCA is a supplemental agreement to the VFA. Meanwhile, the MDT was signed between the Philippines and US in 1951 where both parties agreed that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either the Philippines or the US would be dangerous and that they would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

But Guevarra expressed confidence that the country can survive even if the VFA termination takes effect after 180 days.

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“But again note this: we survived the historic termination of the RP-US military bases agreement; there’s no reason why we shall not survive the termination of a mere visiting forces agreement,” he added.

The country has already sent the notice of termination to the US last Tuesday and it will take effect 180 days upon receipt.

Guevarra said lawmakers are welcome to raise the issue of VFA termination to the Supreme Court but pointed out that “whether the President should at least consult the Senate is manifestly a political question that the Supreme Court will certainly refuse to resolve.”

The Department of Justice Chief also said there is nothing in the Constitution that requires the concurrence of the Senate when it comes to termination of treaties.

“Although a treaty is considered part of the law of the land, it does not belong to the class of ordinary statutes that pass through the entire legislative process; i.e., its abrogation is not similar to the repeal of an ordinary statute,” he added.

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TAGS: EDCA, Mutual Defense Treaty, United States, VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement
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