• EXCLUSIVE

    Aquino signed EDCA, ratification document shows

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    FORMER President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed and ratified the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States, contrary to a claim by his successor, President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Aquino signed the instrument of ratification of the EDCA on June 6, 2014, which states that “I, Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of he Philippines, after having seen and considered the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America on Enhanced Defense Cooperation, do hereby ratify and confirm the same and each and every article and clause thereof.”

    A copy of the document was provided by a diplomat to The Manila Times.

    Duterte, who has stepped up his tirades against the US following Washington’s criticism of his bloody war on drugs, on Sunday warned he would review the EDCA and end joint military exercises between Filipino and US troops.

    The President claimed the document did not bear Aquino’s signature, and was instead signed by former Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and an “aide” in 2014.

    The EDCA allows the rotational presence of US troops in agreed locations inside Philippine military bases, for training and related activities such as transit and refueling.

    In January, the Supreme Court declared the EDCA constitutional. The pact did not need Senate ratification as it is an executive agreement that implements the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States.

    The diplomat noted that the Supreme Court decision acknowledged Aquino’s ratification of the EDCA.
    “[P]onente Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno took note of the ratification when she stated: ‘After eight rounds of negotiations, the Secretary of National Defense and the US Ambassador to the Philippines signed the agreement on April 28, 2014. President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd ratified EDCA on June 6, 2014,’” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named because of lack of authority to speak on the matter.The diplomat also invoked Article 12 of the EDCA, which reads: “This Agreement shall have an initial term of ten years, and thereafter, it shall continue in force automatically unless terminated by either Party by giving one year’s written notice through diplomatic channels of its intention to terminate this Agreement.”

    “Therefore, EDCA has a guaranteed term of 10 years, after which it may be terminated by either party by giving a one-year advance notice of the intent to terminate,” the diplomat added.

    The diplomat also noted that then President Aquino authorized Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to sign the EDCA on April 28, 2014, in the same way US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg had full authority to sign on behalf of US President Barack Obama, under Article 4 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

    The diplomat also pointed out that the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty was signed by Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo and US Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

    The Visiting Forces Agreement was signed by Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon and US Ambassador Thomas Hubbard.

    “It is not legally necessary or customary these days for heads of government to personally sign agreements. Cabinet officials or senior officials can sign for him, provided the President issues full powers to the signing official, pursuant to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties,” the diplomat said.

    Pentagon downplays
    Malacañang on Tuesday said the government, through the Mutual Defense Board, would review EDCA and other defense agreements with the US, particularly those involving military exercises, by the end of October.

    The review was discussed in passing during a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a radio interview.

    But Andanar said President Duterte won’t abrogate the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and would maintain the country’s military alliance with the US.

    Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the military was aware of Duterte’s comments.

    But “it hasn’t really so much translated into tangible actions that we’ve seen with regards to our actions under the alliance,” he said.

    “In as much as our alliance with the Philippines is concerned, it’s very much solid and stable and secure and on track,” he added, pointing to continued cooperation in military exercises and assistance with counter-terrorism operations in the southern Philippines.

    The US Embassy in Manila urged the Philippines on Tuesday to live up to previous agreements.

    “We will continue to honor our alliance commitments, and we expect the Philippines to do the same,” embassy spokeswoman Molly Koscina told AFP.

    Philippine Defense department spokesman Arsenio Andolong told AFP on Monday the military relationship with the US “has not changed as of today.”

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    13 Comments

    1. victor suplido on

      I am for history – we may not have a perfect relation with America however based on what I read and saw with our history specially WWll I believe we owe so much to America for our freedom from the Japanese occupation. Through Gen. MacArthur the Americans with some allied forces made true to a promise ( I shall return) and liberated us with the loss of more than 60,000 American lives and countless of ships, tanks and airplanes. After then they help rebuild our country and our educational system.
      If we look at Vietnam, their ones enemy, when they had a conflict with the Chinese on West Philippine Sea they cried out and wish for America to help them against the Chinese. S. Korea and Japan are stable and became economic giant with America as a contributory factor. We must be very cautious with Russia, if we look at the war in the Middle East, Russia through wrong intelligent information given to Egypt it contributed to ignite that war. Now they are again in Syria, recently they gave Syria air to ground missile which they also did to Egypt which cause them to loose the war. With Syria acquisition of the missiles, their neighboring country might not feel secure with what Russia is doing in Syria and this could escalate the situation. Dealing with the Chinese is another story, Vietnam and China were allies during the Vietnam war but they did not hesitate to shoot those Vietnamese fisherman on the disputed West Philippine Sea. I suppose history will speak for itself who are your friends and your enemy.
      v

    2. Patrick Campbell on

      I am from Australia but I love the Philippines having lived here for 15years.
      I don’t believe this president is taking the Philippines in the right direction.
      He was a good idea at the time for too many people here.
      I am sure you will repair the damage eventually.
      But sooner than later I hope for everyone.

    3. Just as he compared himself (DU30) to hitler, and with the non-thinking mob that follows DU30, i just hope & pray that there won’t be a rised of an equivalent to nazi’s brown & black shirt in RP.

    4. I don’t know what happened to us as a people. We have become the laughing stock of the world because of our dear president. Look at how easy it is for him when he lied and uses vulgar language. His audience, including cabinet secretaries, dignified men and women, laugh everytime he swears and uses gutter language. How low can we become as a people? What pride and dignity can we bear to our children by this?

    5. Du30 is not afraid of U.S. UN EU but scared of china. He attack the u.s. Un and EU due to their comments on du30 war on drug. It eventually appears that du30 is building his international image by placing himself in line with SADDAM HUSSAIN, COL. KADAFI, BASHIR ASSAD AND LATELY HITLER. MAYBE NEXT TIME HE WILL COMPARE HIMSELF WITH THE LATE HUGO CHAVEZ, LENIN, TROTSKY OR EVEN FIDEL CASTRO. I BELIEVE DU30 found the right strategy to gain media mileage and international recognition by simply attacking the u.s. with trash talks and throwbacks. He is right. He did not run for STATEMAN(ship) but for president. In the first place STATEMAN(ship) is not an elected post and is not s government position at all. Statesmanship is acquired and nurture to be used for the betterment of the next generation. DU30 Is right to invoke his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression but not to the extent of of utilizing expletives,deregatory remarks and the likes to send his message. Dog barks, cat say meaaoow.😝

    6. jose b. taganahan on

      The communist leaning Pres. Duterte is caught wrong/lying again when he said that the EDCA was not signed/ratified by the former idiot President B. S. Aquino lll.

    7. mabait na pinoy on

      President Duterte’s behavior and attitude towards anybody that criticize him on his war on drugs are for lower level politicians such as barangay captain or mayor. He already admitted, and said ” ang ugali ko kasi kung minsan ay pang mayor lamang”. His arrogance always gets him in trouble with international community, not realizing that the whole world is listening when he uses “low level language” during his speech. However, majority of Congress members (both houses) are with him on his war on drugs, and they emphasize to respect human rights, and the majority of Filipino people as well. I have also noticed that the “media” are on his side, and they will not publish any negative comment on the president, such as the Manila Times.

      • Who cares about media when you have facebook. Andanar is obviously protecting DU30 and wanting limelight, the position, intrique and pretend to be professional when he is not. DU30 is not the right President for our country. He lacks many traits as a President. He got many issues here and abroad and foreign investments are going away. PNP statistics presented by Sen.Trillanes show that Davao is the number 1 on murder and no. 2 in rape cases. WOW. who is fooling who?

      • to repel Chinese incursion to the Philippines, kung walang US sa China na Palawan ngaun.. pero salamat kay Digong buong Pilipinas na makukuha ng mga BEHO

      • So Philippines is not taken over by Japan ( again) and China ( again) …Both Japan and China have killed hundreds of thousands.

        Philippines has no money for weapons that’s why they have used USA taxpayers to fund their own country security.

        China is taking the fish, land ,islands and resources from the country. Wake up! China is not a friend to anyone but China. China will not die for the Philippine people but Americans already have and proven their support.

      • EDCA will allow the Philippines, in times of calamities, to ask for noodles and canned goods from the Americans.