A congressman on Sunday said the Senate should consult the House of Representatives on the issue of the “increased rotational presence” of United States troops in the country.
Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House Committee on national defense and security, said he recognizes the Senate has the sole power to ratify international agreements, but the senators should also consider the views of fellow lawmakers in the House before acting on any treaty.
Congressmen “are the direct representatives of the people, we are the ones who have direct access to the people,” Biazon said in a radio interview.
The Departments of National Defense and Foreign Affairs last week sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and the House formally informing them about upcoming negotiations with the US government on increasing American military presence in the country.
Biazon said the letter from Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario was about the scheduled consultations and negotiations between the Philippines and the US on a possible framework agreement that would implement the agreed policy of increased rotational presence.
Under the Constitution, the Senate alone can ratify a treaty or international agreement entered into by the Executive Department and a two-thirds vote of the 24-member Senate is needed to adopt it.
“We (congressmen) should not be ignored especially if the issue has something to do with international treaties, Senate should also consult us,” Biazon, who was a senator during the 9th and 11th Congress, said.
In the letter, Gazmin and del Rosasrio stressed that the presence of US troops will help the country attain a “minimum credible defense.”
Senate in 1991 rejected an extension in keeping US military bases in the country.