Will executive be offended with Senate VFA petition before SC? 'It's possible,' says Recto | Inquirer News

Will executive be offended with Senate VFA petition before SC? ‘It’s possible,’ says Recto

/ 01:25 PM February 19, 2020

Ralph Recto

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto. PRIB photo / Henzberg Austria

MANILA, Philippines — Will the Senate’s plan to question the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) before the Supreme Court offend the executive?

“It’s possible,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto told reporters when asked in an interview on Wednesday as he stressed that the upper chamber should assert its authority.


“We are a co-equal branch of government. I think we should assert our authority as well,” Recto said.


“Just like the executive is asserting their authority, we should not give up whatever powers we have insofar as check and balance is concerned,” he added.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III earlier said he and other senators are planning to file a petition before the high court this week.

Sotto also said former Senators Francisco “Kit” Tatad and Rodolfo Biazon, who sponsored the VFA in the 11th Congress, would also join the SC filing.

The Philippine government has already served official notice of termination to the US Embassy on Feb. 11, which will become effective after 180 days.

It was in late January when President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to scrap the two-decade-old military accord with the Philippines long-time ally over the visa cancellation of his former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

Allies of the President in the Senate have already asserted that the President is the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy, thus, he has the prerogative to scrap any treaty if he sees fit.


Asked if he thinks the planned petition of the Senate leadership would get enough support given that a good number of senators are allied with the President, Recto expressed optimism that it would.

“By enlarge, many of us naman in the majority are supportive of the President but not in everything,” he said.

“The Constitution gives us the authority to approve treaties ‘di ba (right)? It’s an inherent power of the Senate 2/3 vote. But the constitution is silent also when it comes to abrogating treaties. So we can test this in the Supreme Court,” he added.

“I support his [Sotto] position on making justiciable in the Supreme Court na linawin na ng Supreme Court yung kapangyarihan ng Senado pagdating sa abrogating treaties like this [to clarify the power of the Senate in abrogating treaties],” Recto further said.

Recto, on the other hand, said that while he is not against terminating the VFA, he says that the timing should be considered when deciding to scrap the same.

“It’s not that I’m against terminating the VFA, I’m just saying, may timing. May timing ‘yan, paghandaan natin.

If you want to terminate the VFA [kailangan] na handa tayo, hindi yung pabigla-bigla,” he said.

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(It’s not that I’m against terminating the VFA, I’m just saying, there’s timing. There’s timing there, we need to prepare for it. If you want to the VFA, we need to be ready, it’s should not be in an abrupt manner).

Edited by JPV
TAGS: News, Ralph Recto, VFA

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