‘Serious mistake’ to end VFA over Bato’s visa – Tatad
MANILA, Philippines— Abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States over the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s US visa is a “serious mistake that can’t be inflicted” on the country’s history of diplomacy, a former senator said on Thursday.
While the abrogation is a political act, former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad said the “manner it is carried out must follow the sense of the Constitution and the rule of equity and fair play.”
“The power of the President is granted but it is not unlimited. It is not absolute. It must submit to the bounds of reason and good sense,” he stressed during the hearing of the Senate committee on foreign relations on a resolution, asserting the Senate’s authority over treaty withdrawal.
“You can’t question the patriotism of the President but we can point out that this decision based on the cancellation of the passport of a former colleague, Senator dela Rosa, is a serious mistake that can’t be inflicted on the history of our diplomacy…” he added.
But Malacanang has already said that the abrogation was not based on a whim, but on a “studied response” to the US’ intrusions and assaults on the Philippine sovereignty.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s order though to terminate the military pact notably came shortly after Dela Rosa’s confirmation that his visa had bee canceled by the US.
On February 11, a notice terminating the VFA was sent to the US. The termination will take effect after 180 days upon receipt of the notice.
While the Constitution is silent on treaty withdrawal, Tatad insisted the President could not unilaterally revoke the VFA.
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