Drilon: Senate won’t ratify Paris climate pact
The Senate will no longer ratify the historic Paris Agreement on climate change following President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he would not honor the covenant, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Tuesday.
Drilon recognized that Duterte, as “architect” and “principal actor” of the country’s foreign policy, had the prerogative not to honor the agreement if he thought it was not consistent with the national policy.
“The President is the architect of our foreign policy. He’s the principal actor in so far as foreign policy is concerned. The role of the Senate is treaty ratification,” he said in an interview at the Senate.
“If President Duterte, as a matter of policy, has decided that we will not ratify the agreement, then that is a prerogative that he has as Chief Executive. If he does not send to the Senate the treaty for ratification, then it is not binding on our country. That is a policy that his administration has adopted,” said the Senate leader.
Drilon was reacting to Duterte’s statement the he would not honor the covenant, calling it “stupid” and “absurd.”
If the next leader adopts another policy, however, then Drilon said there is still a chance that the treaty could be ratified by the chamber and “then it becomes part of the law of the land.”
“But as of today, the President has decided that he will not ratify the treaty and the Senate has no opportunity to concur in the ratification,” Drilon said.
He likened Duterte’s position to that of his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III, who insisted that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States was not a treaty, which does not require the concurrence by the Senate.
“Similarly in this case, President Duterte has said that it is not consistent with his national policy that the public would concur in the treaty. That is where we are today. That is the policy of the Duterte administration,” Drilon said.
“That is valid considering that at least during his administration…there will no be ratification of the treaty. The Senate will not be called upon to concur in the ratification,” he further said.
Senator Loren Legara, co-head of the Philippine delegation to the Paris Agreement signing ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters last April, said she would rather wait for the official declaration of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before commenting on Duterte’s pronouncements.
“I have no comment until such time that the DFA has made an official declaration,” Legarda said in a separate interview. RAM/rga
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