• EDCA invalid based on Constitution – Miriam

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    SEN. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday said the controversial Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States is not valid and effective because it was not presented to the Senate for concurrence as mandated by the Philippine Constitution.

    Santiago, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, insisted that the wordings of the Constitution are clear that treaties or international agreements can be valid and effective only after the concurrence of the Senate.

    “EDCA is not valid and it is not effective because the wordings of our Constitution [are]valid and effective,” she said in a news briefing after the hearing of her committee on the agreement.

    Santiago cited Article 7, Section 21 of the Constitution, which states, “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”

    She said she will be coming up with a resolution expressing the collective wisdom of the Senate on EDCA and have it signed by members of the chamber.

    The “silence” of the Senate on EDCA, according to her, should not be interpreted that the chamber is in favor of the cooperation agreement, that is why it is also important for them to express their position on it.

    Basically, she said, the sentiment is that the Senate is not happy that its constitutionally accepted powers such as concurrence with and ratification of a treaty have been short-circuited by the executive branch.

    “I will draft it [resolution]since I’m the chairman of the foreign relations committee and I will circulate it to the Senate. I think, basically, the sentiment here is that the Senate is not involved in this [EDCA]. I am hoping that the Senate resolution can enlighten the people and will also convey to President [Benigno] Aquino [3rd] the sense of the senators on the EDCA,” Santiago explained.

    The senator, however, said she is not sure if she could get the majority of senators to sign the resolution because the President might ask his allies in the Senate to vote in favor of the agreement.

    Aquino, as the nominal head of the Liberal Party, which in effect controls the Senate, may prevail upon his colleagues in the party to support EDCA.

    “In pragmatic terms, to be realistic, it is entirely possible that he may convince the greater majority to vote his way, the way of EDCA, even if the arguments do not resolve the conflict simply out of party loyalty,” Santiago said.

    She noted that the Senate is not obstructing the prerogative of the President on foreign policy and that what they only want is for the executive to respect the chamber’s authority particularly on treaties and international agreements.

    The President, Santiago said, should have given EDCA to the Senate rather than hide it and insist that it is an executive agreement that does not need Senate concurrence.

    She rejected claims of the executive branch that EDCA is an executive pact that does not need to be submitted to the Senate, saying the term “executive agreement” is nowhere in the Constitution.

    Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, during the committee hearing, conceded that EDCA does not guarantee that the United States would come to the aid of the Philippines in case the country is attacked by other countries.

    Gazmin said even with the existence of EDCA, such military aid will have to go through the constitutional process of the US.

    Aside from EDCA discouraging other countries from attempting to invade the Philippines, he added that the agreement would benefit the Philippine military in terms of joint training exercises with its US counterpart.

    Lawyer Harry Roque dismissed claims that EDCA is part of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreeement (VFA), both also between the Philippines and the US.

    He said EDCA goes beyond the VFA since the US, under EDCA, can deploy its troops, preposition its materials anywhere in the Philippines and use the country to store nuclear weapons without the knowledge of Malacañang.

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    6 Comments

    1. The Supreme Court should first rule on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of EDCA as it is questioned in the case before it. Let the Senate make a treaty later if they so decide. The court cannot just remand it to senate.

    2. If All the pilipino and specially the politician who have tick face thicker than the Nara wood think the present of United State forces are not needed, then tell them we don’t need you, we can fight the chinese because the pilipino are brave, and proven in war specially in Japanese time, General McArthur recuited almost 100,000 thousand of pilipino to fight the Japanese, after the war theirs more than 200,000 claim that fight in the war, this prove all the pilipino are Honest. SO! we don’t want United States in our defense we could do it in our well equip soldier and very Honest politician, and if we visit United States you could kick us it doest matter, or you could take our politician green card it doest not matter. SO! do it know. OK

      • You’re not a Filipino! I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re different planet. If South Korea and Japan needs the American force as detrrent why would our country not seek the alliance from the US. I still have to see country without alliance. Even China have alliance with Russia. One thing you don’t know is the danger the world is in.

    3. Mahilig pumasok itong si Santiago kapag huli na ang lahat at alam niyang wala siyang magagawa!pang 2016 talaga ang banat nito!
      Ang dami na nitong kinewestyon pero lang nangyari dahil aso din siya ni Aquino!noong ipinapasok palang la siyang say, ngayon tapos na! Hihirit pa para pang paganda sa tao na akala mo against siya ki abnoy!
      Sayang ang tapang pero hindi naisasagawa!

    4. Little by little, everything is falling apart for the abnoy and his fake government. This because he presumes himself as the grand dictator who can dictate his will upon the people without regard to the institutions he shares equal power with. He does not even seek council from the group of former presidents who know substantially what the country is going through. It is always what he wants even if what he wants is not in accordance with the law and the Constitution. “All authority comes from God”. But of course, he ignores this too. The shame and humiliation he is presently experiencing witnessed by the whole world is an indictment to his lack of credentials and mandate.

      He is not the elected president. He does not deserve to be in Malacanang to lord it over us and to loot our national treasury. He has to pay for the hunger and poverty of our people who were not attended to by a criminally negligent abnoy or a pseudo-president. His crimes against the people shout to the heavens for vengeance. And now, he is violently shaking and crawling in the earth like a worm, under the weight of divine retribution.

      • You and most of those who commented are not in the best position to assess the implication of EDCA and the decison that led to this agreement. No one from us really knows what’s the deal with the government other than the pronouncement of Obama that shift of the American forces to Pacific to contain growing Chinese military aggresiveness. One thing for sure China has now installed structures in some of the Spratley Islands claimed by PH and other Asean countries. This is a direct challenge to the US forces. Having American forces deters China from further actions. Enrile who is the defense minister believes that the actions made by the government is correct and most likely with guidance from US government. Miriam and lately Bongbong comments on EDCA are political showmanship and does not help deter China from its aggression. One thing for sure, we are all living in a dangerous world and mistakes by North Korea and China will lead to great devastation for the entire humanity. Only our father in heaven can save us from this destruction.