US basing agreement ground for 3rd impeach case vs Aquino

“The EDCA is essentially a basing agreement. No amount of euphemism by President Aquino, his representatives and other officials will cure the constitutional violation caused by this agreement.”


MANILA — It’s impeachment case number 3 against President Aquino, this time based on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which, the complainants said, “effectively surrendered (Philippine) sovereignty to the hegemony of the US military.”

Twenty-one nationalist leaders led by Makabayan coalition president Satur Ocampo filed the impeachment complaint Thursday, July 24, citing Aquino’s culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust as grounds.

“The EDCA is essentially a basing agreement. No amount of euphemism by President Aquino, his representatives and other officials will cure the constitutional violation caused by this
agreement,” said the complainants in the prefatory statement.

EDCA was signed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg, on April 28, two hours before US President Barack Obama arrived in the country. Anti-imperialist activists assailed the agreement as worse than the RP-US Military Bases Agreement, which the Philippine Senate rejected in 1991.

“President Aquino surrendered national sovereignty, compromised our territorial integrity, and prejudiced the national interest. He has opened the door to the return of US military bases without seeking Senate concurrence and popular affirmation through a plebiscite,” said ACT-Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, who endorsed the complaint.

Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. Emmi de Jesus, who also endorsed the complaint, asserted that Aquino should be ousted from office for his outright sellout of national sovereignty and patrimony through the EDCA.

“The EDCA violates Constitutional provisions that ban the presence of foreign troops and bases and the use and entry of war materials including nuclear weapons in the country in undetermined number. Furthermore, in entering into this agreement President Aquino has placed women and children in a very vulnerable situation, knowing fully how women and children were prostituted and abused at the time when US military bases were in Clark and Subic and how victims are refused justice with perpetrators conveniently released to US custody as in the case of Nicole,” De Jesus explained.

The Gabriela Women’s Partylist had earlier endorsed the first impeachment complaint against Aquino over the Disbursement Acceleration Program.


“The people condemn the blatant sellout of Philippine sovereignty to the United States thru the EDCA,” the impeachment complaint read.

It averred that Aquino entered the country in an agreement that is “grossly lopsided in favor of the US, greatly disadvantageous to the Filipino People, and amounts to the derogation of the country’s dignity and a shocking sellout of Philippine sovereignty.”

Under EDCA, “agreed locations” will practically serve as US military bases, where US forces, personnel and contractors are given the right to free access and the blanket authority to conduct activities – “rent-free and tax-exempt.” The US government is also given “police power” as it retains “operational and security control” over these areas, and could limit access by Filipinos. Under the agreement, there is no limit on how many areas can serve as basing, the number of US troops that can enter, and how much war materiel they can bring in.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan’s secretary general and one of the complainants said that it means“more rights violations to come. “The ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples, the lands of the farmers, even public roads, seaports and airports may now be occupied by the American troops under the ‘Agreed Locations’ provision of the agreement,” Palabay said.

The complaint also cited a violation of the anti-nuclear provision of the Constitution, as US forces “may bring in and store nuclear and other types of weapons and hazardous materials.”

The US government has maintained a policy of “neither confirm nor deny” regarding the presence of nuclear weapons and waste in the former US military bases. In the mid-90s, the hazardous effect of the nuclear remnants of the bases was exposed by the increase in cancer-stricken patients among residents who live beside the former Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga. The deaths of several children stricken with cancer raised public clamor for a US cleanup in the area.

“The entry of the nuclear weapons of the Americans, the proliferation of nuclear wastes, the destruction of the Philippine environment, the deprivation of the Filipinos’ use of their own resources and the needless risks of war that stationing US forces and prepositioning of war materiel in Philippine shores entail are all glaring indicators that the accession of the Aquino government to the EDCA is manifestly contrary and inimical to the national interest,” the complaint said.

“By entering into this agreement which also violates several laws including labor, tax, local goverment, and other laws, Aquino violated his oath of office to faithfully and conscientiously fulfill his duties, and preserve and defend the Constitution,” Tinio said.

Violence against women

Mary Joan Guan, executive director of the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) and one of the impeachment complainants, said increased presence of US troops would mean increased prostitution and violence against women and children.

“The increasing poverty in the country is a breeding ground for prostitution to proliferate,” she said.

Guan said that CWR’s initial data gathering showed that “the red light districts of Subic and Angeles City are revitalized. Just like in the past, these places will apparently serve as ‘rest and recreation’ (R and R) for US military troops.”

“In Olongapo City where the former US naval base was located, the local government is now welcoming and preparing for the influx of US soldiers in their area. The local government says it will create jobs for the people. The question is: What kind of job awaits women there?” said Guan in a statement.

The CWR research also recorded that in Angeles City, most of the women employed in bars came from different poor provinces such as Samar and Leyte.

Guan said that during the time of the US military bases, “hundreds of sexual abuses by US soldiers were reported but remained unresolved.”

“The denial of justice in the past will surely be a denial of justice in the future because of EDCA. The Philippine government has no teeth to punish the abusers so the culture of impunity will continue,” Guan said.

Under EDCA, Philippine courts have no jurisdiction over any dispute, such as abuses by US troops.


Karapatan’s Palabay, meanwhile, said: “Our signing of the impeachment complaint also means we are holding the US government co-accountable for all the human rights violations in our country.”

She said the that the US “has committed crimes against the Filipino people for guiding the implementation of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and for giving military aid and support.

“We sign this impeachment complaint remembering those who were victimized by the US-Aquino government—for the 204 victims of extrajudicial killings, for the 21 enforced disappearances… This impeachment complaint will only be one of the many acts of defiance, we Filipinos will make against the US imperialism and BS Aquino,” said Palabay.

Among the those who signed the impeachment complaint were five “comfort women” or survivors of the Japanese military sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation in World War II, namely, Virginia Villarama, Narcisa Adriatico, Felicidad De Los Reyes, Estelita Dy, Luningning Lituañas.

The first impeachment complaint was filed on July 21, Monday by anti-pork barrel activists based on Aquino’s implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). It was followed on July 22, by a complaint filed by youth groups, also over the DAP. The first was endorsed by Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, while the second was endorsed by Kabataan Partylist rep. Terry Ridon. (

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