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Militant solon laments SC decision upholding Edca

/ 05:31 PM July 26, 2016
Carlos Zarate

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate on Tuesday lamented the final decision of the Supreme Court to dismiss the petitions which seek to junk the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) with the United States.

In a statement, Zarate, a petitioner against Edca, called a “big disappointment” the decision of the Supreme Court voting 9-4 to deny the motions for reconsideration filed by former Senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada, the militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Zarate and former representative Neri Colmenares.

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READ: Supreme Court upholds legality of Edca

“The decision is truly unfortunate; this is a sad day in our campaign for the defense of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zarate said.

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Zarate said he found it ironic that the Philippines won against China in the maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea, yet the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the defense cooperation agreement allowing US troops to increase its rotational presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The agreement was signed during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

READ: In the Know: Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement

“It is ironic that, just recently, the Philippines won its case against China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea. Yet,  through this lopsided agreement entered by former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the country will once again be tied ad infinitum to the expansionist and hegemonist US policy, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” Zarate said.

Zarate said the decision to uphold the defense agreement between the Philippines and the United States despite the constitutional ban on foreign military bases will not hinder the militant group from defending national sovereignty.

“This setback should not deter us, the people, in continuing our struggle for and in defense of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zarate said.

“This should not deter us in our fight against foreign intervention, and, in our quest of having a truly independent foreign policy, relations and solidarity with other countries and peoples of the world,” he added.

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In dismissing the motion for reconsideration, the Supreme Court said Edca did not go beyond the framework of the 1987 Constitution which expressly prohibits the establishment of foreign military bases in the country.

The high court said the entry of US troops has long been allowed under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

The high court upheld its January decision voting 10-4-1 that Edca is an executive agreement which the President is allowed to enter into under Article XVIII Section 25 of the 1987 Constitution. RAM

READ: Supreme Court upholds legality of Edca

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TAGS: Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, EDCA, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Supreme Court, United States
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