• Reverse EDCA ruling, Supreme Court urged

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday was asked by former senator Rene Saguisag and militant groups to set aside its earlier ruling, which declared constitutional the controversial Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States.

    In separate motions for reconsideration, the militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Saguisag sought the High Court’s reversal of its January 12, 2016 decision penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

    With a vote of 10 against 4, EDCA was declared legal by the SC, upholding the position of Malacanang that the cooperation agreement is an executive pact and does not need Senate concurrence.

    The SC also junked Senate Resolution 105, which states that EDCA is a treaty and must be approved by the Senate.

    It noted “the President’s power to enter into executive agreements [different from treaties]not requiring Senate concurrence has been well-recognized and long upheld by the court.”

    Bayan’s appeal stated that “it is clear that when it comes to international agreements involving foreign military bases, troops or facilities, the President’s power to enter into such agreements is limited by Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution.

    Its secretary general Renato Reyes said they “object to the SC’s reinterpretation of the Constitution when it said that a treaty for foreign troops, bases and facilities is only required for the initial entry of foreign troops, bases and facilities; that the Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA] already satisfies this requirement.”

    “This problematic interpretation opens the floodgates to more executive agreement post-VFA mostly negotiated in secret, that will result in more foreign troops and more bases, without any Senate concurrence and oversight,” he pointed out.

    The group argued that the SC ruling was flawed and must be corrected.

    Saguisag stated that they had fought for ouster of US military bases from the country and this crusade, according to him, continues for the independence and sovereignty of the Philippines.

    Main petitioners in this case are Saguisag and another former senator, Wigberto Tanada.

    Named respondents were President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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