“We dare the Senate to outdo itself and act to defend our sovereignty.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – After the Supreme Court upheld the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) as constitutional, a youth group now hopes to find another way to keep US troops out.
The Kabataan party-list called on the Senate to abrogate Edca’s supposed mother treaties: the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 1947 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
The Supreme Court declared on Jan. 12 that Edca was only an implementing agreement of the VFA and MDT, and is only an executive agreement, not a treaty which requires senate concurrence. The high court also disagreed with Senate Resolution 105, which asserted that Edca needs Senate approval.
The senate resolution, which was authored by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, was signed by 15 senators and submitted to the SC in November last year. Defensor-Santiago had also called for a review and abrogation of the VFA, which, she said, violates the Constitutional ban on the presence of foreign military troops.
“We urge our senators, especially Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, to exhaust all legal means to ensure that the Senate resolution on Edca passed last November will hold water,” said Kabataan Partylist (KPL) first nominee Sarah Elago, in a statement Jan. 13. The KPL is among the groups that have been holding indignation protests at the US embassy since the SC decision came out.
“Surely we do not want, nor urge, the two branches of government to clash with each other. One viable and doable option is for the Senate to finally move to abrogate the VFA and the MDT, which Edca is hinged upon,” said Elago.
The SC had declared the VFA as “valid and binding” in 2009, and affirmed its decision in 2010.
This coming September, the country commemorates the 25th year of the historic Senate rejection of the RP-US bases treaty, which activists now say was reversed by the SC decision. Elago hopes the current Senate will stand by their position on the presence of foreign military troops.
“This is the moment for the Senate to act with a firm sense of nationalism, to rise to the moment and decide to finally break the shackles of US subservience. We dare the Senate to outdo itself and act to defend our sovereignty,” she said.