IN an effort to further assert the power of the Senate to enter into treaties or international agreements, Senator Miriam Santiago and 12 other senators has come up with a resolution expressing the strong sense of the Senate that a treaty ratified by the President is not valid and effective unless concurred in by the chamber.
Santiago, the author of the resolution, insisted that international agreements such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) should pass through the Senate.
“By this resolution, the Senate merely takes a definitive stand on the non-negotiable power of the Senate to decide whether a treaty will be valid and effective, depending on Senate concurrence,” the senators said in the resolution.
If adopted, the resolution will be sent to the Supreme Court as the Senate’s position on the pending question on the validity of the EDCA, which according to Malacañang is not a treaty but an executive agreement that does not require Senate concurrence.
“The only constitutional ground for the position taken by the Executive is the mere inclusion of the term ‘executive agreement’ as one of items included in the list of cases which the Supreme Court has power to decide,” the resolution stated.
According to the resolution, there was no provision that defined the term “executive agreement” that set requirements for it, or established protocol.
Santiago further assailed the view that the EDCA is an implementing agreement to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), forged between the Philippines and the U.S. in 2009.
“It is absurd to claim that the EDCA is an implementing agreement to the VFA, which, in the first place, is alleged to be the implementing agreement to the ancient Mutual Defense Treaty. Moreover, the US does not even recognize the VFA as a treaty,” she said.
Aside from Santiago, those who signed as co-authors were Senators
Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Teofisto Guingona 3rd, Lito Lapid, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sergio Osmeña 3rd, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Cynthia Villar.
“The Constitution is clear and categorical that Senate concurrence is absolutely necessary for the validity and effectivity of any treaty, particularly any treaty that promotes for foreign military bases, troops, and facilities, such as the EDCA,” the senators said.