Drilon to defend Senate petition on VFA at SC
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon will personally defend the Senate as the chamber formally petitions the Supreme Court on Monday to rule if the senators’ concurrence is needed before President Rodrigo Duterte can abrogate any international treaty they had previously approved.
“We have already finalized the petition [last Saturday]. I will be appearing [before the Supreme Court] as lawyer of the Senate,” Drilon said in a radio interview.
The former justice secretary reiterated that the chamber’s decision was not intended to challenge Duterte’s move to scrap the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States sans approval from the Senate.
“The VFA is not the only issue that will be discussed, but the authority of the Senate as enshrined in the Constitution … We are just seeking clarification from the Supreme Court about our authority,” he said.
“The Senate has already [categorically] stated in about 20 treaties that we had approved for ratification that our advise and consent are needed before these can be terminated. That’s very clear,” Drilon added.
In a vote of 12-0 with seven abstentions, the Senate adopted last week Senate Resolution No. 337, which was principally sponsored by Drilon, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon.
The resolution urged the high court to define the chamber’s authority in scrapping international agreements following the President’s unilateral decision to terminate the VFA.
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