No Legal Obstacle to Abrogating VFA, Lawyer Says

Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of the Constitution provides that:

After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning military bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

“In a treaty, one party has obligations, the other party has obligations,” he pointed out. “It cannot be that one party has an obligation but the other does not. That’s not a treaty, that’s an imposition.”

Colmenares also said that the MDT does not necessitate the granting of extraterritorial and extrajudicial “rights” to US servicemen visiting the Philippines. “The MDT does not grant such, so it cannot be said to be the basis for the VFA,” he said.

Considering that the VFA cannot really be considered supplemental to the MDT, Colmenares said, the government should have no problem with abrogating it.

“In fact, even in the VFA itself, there is a provision for termination,” he said. “And you don’t even need to have a reason. Which is a natural treaty method.”

“And that is not even because of the fact that it is not a supplemental agreement,” he added. “Even if it was a supplemental agreement, there is a provision for termination.”

Art. IX of the VFA provides that:

This agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the parties have notified each other in writing through the diplomatic channel that they have completed their constitutional requirements for entry into force. This agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement


Colmenares added that not even the Supreme Court ruling upholding the supposed constitutionality of the VFA should prevent the government from abrogating it. (

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