CREEPING INVASION? NO PROVISION IN EDCA

China’s perceived creeping invasion or effective occupation of disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea has not been discussed in negotiations between the Philippines and the US on military agreements. Speaking to reporters, Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, chairman of the Philippine panel that negotiated the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), yesterday said their mandate was to negotiate an accord that would further implement the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement. “The policy is already set forth under these treaties,” he said. “Your question would already pertain to possible amendment or enhancement or refinements of these treaties, which we apologize we cannot answer because that is not within our authority.” Batino said the Mutual Defense Treaty provided for an external armed attack. “With respect to its application for future, if any, incidents, that would be determined based on the circumstances involved,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH, US Marines kick off Balikatan exercises in Zambales

Scores of US and Filipino marines launched mock assaults on a South China Sea beach in the Philippines on Friday in the 30th Balikatan exercises aimed at honing the allies’ combat skills. The exercise came as tensions simmer between the Philippines and China over rival claims to the strategic waters. With 87 members of the Philippine Marine Corps, 40 of their American counterparts were in support during the simulation of an amphibious operation at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales, Friday. “What happened today is part of Balikatan 2014 on maritime security,” Lieutenant Annaleah Cazcarro said amid the scorching sun.“It is part of our mandate to become more effective and efficient on maritime security.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Officials defend EDCA at Balikatan rites

The Balikatan flag is unfurled by Col. John Rutherford and MGen Emeraldo Magnaye during the opening ceremony of the Philippines-United States Exercise Balikatan 2014 at the Tejeros Hall, AFPCOC, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Q.C.As the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines formally opened the 30th Balikatan exercises, government officials used the ceremony to defend the much criticized Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. In front of Filipino, American and Australian troops, AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista announced and opened Balikatan 2014 with the issues of maritime security and maritime domain awareness the focus of the yearly exercise.“Through the Balikatan exercises, the United States and the Philippines have learnt from each other in interoperability, peace and security in the Asia Pacific,” Bautista said at the Tejeros Hall at Camp Aguinaldo Monday. Bautista said that the new instalment of the Balikatan, which would have the Australian Defense Force for the first time, would develop military capabilities of the parties and “demonstrate Philippine and US relationships in maritime security.” READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: The mess created by Aquino’s defense treaty

What a mess President Aquino has put the country into by rushing the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, just so he can boast that US President made a state visit under his watch. In order to speed up the negotiations, Aquino made the talks practically secret and refused to consult with the Senate, which the Constitution says must ratify any treaty the country enters into with another nation. I strongly suspect it was Aquino and our ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia who offered the Americans the treaty in exchange for Obama’s visit. With both of them having just two years left in office, Aquino and Cuisia were desperate not to be in the league of President Estrada and his ambassador who failed to get the president of the most powerful nation on earth to visit the country. Indeed, Obama had already visited Indonesia (twice), Thailand, Camdodia, and Burma—countries with which the US doesn’t have any of that “special relationship” the Philippines is proud of. The window was fast closing: it’s 2014 and never has a US president visited a Philippine president on the way out of office. (What for?). The EDCA shows all signs of an agreement rushed so that Obama could include the Philippines in his Asian tour to oversee its signing. The Americans even made Manila as his last stop, to send a message to Aquino that without the treaty Obama could cancel his trip to the Philippines for some reason.READ MORE...

ALSO: EDCA: a mockery of the Constitution

In the Facebook wall of Dennis Carcia, musician, advertising executive, painter and Abante columnist, there’s a picture of Obama signaling something with two fingers. Dennis captioned it: “EDCA:I can summarize the agreement in two words- NO RENTAL. “ The post elicited a comment from Noy Dy-Liacco: “I can do it in one: FREE! The banter is a spoof of the TV musical game show “Name the Tune.” EDCA is Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, a document so detestable it makes a mockery of the Philippine Constitution and ridicules Philippine sovereignty. When we read the EDCA signed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg on the day that Obama arrived for a two-day state visit, we wanted to line up those responsible for EDCA against the wall so we can tell the Filipino people: “Here are the officials who sold us out again to the United States.” Who are they? Usec Batino, with new members of the panel Amb. Eduardo Malaya and Amb. Lourdes Yparraguirre confer with their US counterpart. The Philippine panel was headed by Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino. Members included The Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre, Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya, Justice Department Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, and DND Assistant Secretary for strategic assessments Raymund Jose Quilop. We all know that the panel was getting instructions from the Del Rosario and Gazmin. The two cabinet secretaries reported to President Aquino and nothing in EDCA was without the approval of the chief executive. At the start of the negotiations, the DFA representative in the panel was Assistant Secretary Carlos “King” Sorreta, considered an expert in American affairs. Early this year, Sorreta was removed from the panel and Yparraguirre, ambassador to Austria and Malaya, ambassador to Malaysia were brought in. CONTINUE READING, MORE PHOTOS...


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Creeping invasion? No provision in EDCA

MANILA, MAY 12, 2014 (PHILSTAR) China’s perceived creeping invasion or effective occupation of disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea has not been discussed in negotiations between the Philippines and the US on military agreements.

Speaking to reporters, Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, chairman of the Philippine panel that negotiated the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), yesterday said their mandate was to negotiate an accord that would further implement the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“The policy is already set forth under these treaties,” he said.

“Your question would already pertain to possible amendment or enhancement or refinements of these treaties, which we apologize we cannot answer because that is not within our authority.”

Batino said the Mutual Defense Treaty provided for an external armed attack.

“With respect to its application for future, if any, incidents, that would be determined based on the circumstances involved,” he said.

Batino said the Department of National Defense (DND) would yield to pertinent agencies like the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on these matters.

They could understand the concerns, but the existing agreements would only deal with external armed attacks, he added.

The Mutual Defense Treaty would cover disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea in case of an external armed attack, he added.

Batino said the regional security environment had always been a serious topic of discussion outside of the negotiations during bilateral strategic dialogues between the Philippines and the US.

“So, of course, we cannot negotiate in a vacuum,” he said. “We know that there are security concerns in the evolving security environment.”

Batino said EDCA is centered on the enhancement or the development of defense cooperation between the Philippine and US militaries through joint training exercises to achieve a high level of interoperability, especially in times of disasters.

“EDCA will bring us to a higher level of defense cooperation,” he said.

“In fact, for the Philippines it is stated – at least for the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization – it is stated there that EDCA will promote the long-term modernization of the AFP, as well as address our short-term capability gaps.”

Phl to benefit from EDCA

Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya, a member of the panel that negotiated the EDCA, said the Philippines will benefit from the agreement.

“As we have stated, we think that this agreement is mutually beneficial,” he said. “And it may benefit the US to a certain extent, but certainly it benefits the Philippines and, in our view, even more.”

Malaya said the panel was happy that they were able to conclude the agreement in a timely manner and “there is no need to rush” the details.

“We can take things one at a time, given the framework agreement that we now have,” he said.

Negotiations were undertaken based on evolving “geopolitical realities,” Malaya said.

Batino said the Philippine military lacks some defense equipment that EDCA could address in the face of regional security concerns and the country’s territorial dispute with China.

“EDCA defines one of the objectives… addressing of short-term capability gaps of the AFP,” he said. “And there is language here in EDCA that provides that the parties share a recognition of the benefits that such pre-positioning could have for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“The parties also recognize the value of such pre-positioning to the enhancement of their individual and collective defense capabilities, again, in reference to the mutual defense capability objective of the Mutual Defense Treaty. The availability of pre-positioned equipment, for us to address our concerns in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, is very important.”

Batino said EDCA provides that new facilities that the US would introduce with the consent of the Philippines would become Philippine government property.

“Again, connecting this with the AFP modernization program, one component of which is bases development and support. This would be very helpful in that component of the AFP modernization program,” he said.

Batino said EDCA will also be beneficial for the Philippines’ maritime security, maritime domain awareness and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“In fact, the present Balikatan exercises are already centering on maritime security, and this is just one of the manifestations that the Philippine security concerns are being prioritized through the joint training exercises. And also, we can be assured of the continued prioritization of the concerns, primary concerns of the Philippine defense and security establishments,” he said.

Batino said they are now preparing for the presentation of EDCA and its features before Congress and for a possible legal challenge before the Supreme Court (SC).

“This pushed us to even negotiate even more vigorously for language that would be defensible under the Philippine Constitution and under relevant laws,” he said.

Batino said the environment had been greatly protected and promoted in the negotiations on EDCA.

“Nowhere in our former treaties or agreements with the US were there expressed provisions, robust provisions for environmental protection,” he said.

Batino said the provision did not limit environmental protection measures within military bases.

“It covers all defense cooperation activities that are implemented under EDCA… (and as) joint activities between the Philippine and US militaries,” he said.

Batino said EDCA also provides that nuclear weapons are prohibited for all defense cooperation activities between the Philippines and the US.

“We have to make distinction though between nuclear weapons and nuclear technology,” he said.

“With respect to the aircraft carrier, an aircraft carrier having nuclear power, that is allowed. Because I don’t think it is wise to prohibit use of nuclear technology, because if we go into absurd circumstances, that would even include probably X-ray.”

‘EDCA is not income generating’

Batino said EDCA is a defense cooperation agreement, not a transaction to generate income.

“That was not the purpose for EDCA,” he said.

“We think that through the defense cooperation that will be implemented here, the benefits that will be enjoyed by both the AFP and the US militaries would be mutual. Secondly… it’s also consistent with the provisions of the VFA that landing charges or port charges – that US militaries would be exempt from all of this governmental jurisdiction, such as port charges and landing charges. It is in recognition of the rule that a sovereign power does not have jurisdiction over another sovereign,” Batino said. – With Christina Mendez, Bebot Sison Jr., PiaLee-Brago

FROM THE INQUIRER

PH, US Marines kick off Balikatan exercises in Zambales By Bong Lozada AFP, INQUIRER.net 2:05 pm | Friday, May 9th, 2014


NOY MORCOSO/INQUIRER.net

ZAMBALES, Philippines—Scores of US and Filipino marines launched mock assaults on a South China Sea beach in the Philippines on Friday in the 30th Balikatan exercises aimed at honing the allies’ combat skills.

The exercise came as tensions simmer between the Philippines and China over rival claims to the strategic waters.

With 87 members of the Philippine Marine Corps, 40 of their American counterparts were in support during the simulation of an amphibious operation at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales, Friday.

“What happened today is part of Balikatan 2014 on maritime security,” Lieutenant Annaleah Cazcarro said amid the scorching sun.

“It is part of our mandate to become more effective and efficient on maritime security.”

Aboard the PF16 Ramon Alcaraz and LC 551 BRP Dagupan City, Filipino and American Marines were deployed 500 meters away from the shore to simulate an amphibious raid on a beach environment.

“This was planned years before,” Cazcarro told Agence France-Presse (AFP) when asked if the exercises had any bearing on the latest maritime incident involving China, which the Philippines said occurred near Half Moon Shoal, 106 kilometres west of the large western Philippine island of Palawan.

After the simulated reconnaissance mission, the Marines who swam from the rubber boats to the shore returned to the mother ship and went on a full attack on their targets with the rest of the contingent.

Shouting “Volume Fire!” and “Bounce Up”, the teams scrambled up the sloping shore with assault rifles to surround a mocked-up enemy tent before running back to their boats in rapid manoeuvres.

“We’re here for the sake of training, to build up and develop our capabilities,” US Marines spokesman Captain Jeremy Scheier told Agence France-Presse when asked if they had a specific enemy target in mind.

With nearly 80 of the troops storming the beach and the five Filipino officials shouting “kuha,” the simulation was over in less than three minutes.

“Coordination went really well,” Scheier said. “It was a combined effort from the Philippine Marine Corps and and US Marine Corps.”

Scheiar said that no matter the condition or climate, Balikatan was an opportunity to train with the Filipinos.

“It can be used for any scenario involving amphibious operations,” Scheier said. “And the Filipinos are in the lead.”

About 5,500 US and Filipino forces are taking part in the annual war games over a two-week period.

At the opening ceremony in Manila last week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said this year’s joint maneuvers were designed to help the hosts boost their “maritime capability” to address “challenges” in the South China Sea.

The Philippines, which signed a mutual defence treaty with the United States in 1951, has been involved in increasingly tense maritime confrontations with regional power China, which claims most of the sea including waters close to its neighbours.

The United States has said it takes no position in the territorial dispute.

However US President Barack Obama, on a state visit to Manila last week, warned China against using force in territorial disputes and said Washington would support Manila in the event of an attack.

In the latest incident on Tuesday, Filipino police detained a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel and detained its 11 crew members.

It has ignored a Chinese demand to free the vessel and crew.

Officials defend EDCA at Balikatan rites By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 3:24 pm | Monday, May 5th, 2014


The Balikatan flag is unfurled by Col. John Rutherford and MGen Emeraldo Magnaye during the opening ceremony of the Philippines-United States Exercise Balikatan 2014 at the Tejeros Hall, AFPCOC, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Q.C. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines—As the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines formally opened the 30th Balikatan exercises, government officials used the ceremony to defend the much criticized Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

In front of Filipino, American and Australian troops, AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista announced and opened Balikatan 2014 with the issues of maritime security and maritime domain awareness the focus of the yearly exercise.

“Through the Balikatan exercises, the United States and the Philippines have learnt from each other in interoperability, peace and security in the Asia Pacific,” Bautista said at the Tejeros Hall at Camp Aguinaldo Monday.

Bautista said that the new instalment of the Balikatan, which would have the Australian Defense Force for the first time, would develop military capabilities of the parties and “demonstrate Philippine and US relationships in maritime security.”

“Balikatan would strengthen our capability to manage such threats, and disasters,” said Bautista who referred to natural calamities as non-traditional threats and which showed the strong alliance of the two nations. “Both militaries can work together in the spirit of bayanihan in contingencies.”

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said that the 2014 Balikatan is “significant” as the Philippines commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Philippine liberation during World War II.

“We fly different flags today but we share the same common goal of peace and security and prosperity in the Southeast Asia,” Goldberg said. “While we look to the past and honor the heroes who fought for our freedom, we should use the lessons they thought us to move the alliance to the 21st century.”

“Shoulder to shoulder ready to defend when needed.”

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin echoed Goldberg’s historical analogy saying that the Balikatan would return to the very place where the first semblances of Filipino-American cooperation took place.

“They worked together to free the Philippines from foreign oppressors, amazingly, 70 years later, the same of working together was manifested when Yolanda struck in the same place where President Sergio Osmeña and General Douglas MacArthur landed in 1944 in Palo, Leyte.”

Big boys talk

Amid the constant wave of criticisms from the militant groups, officials in the higher offices of the military, and foreign affairs aired their views and defended the EDCA.

Major General Emeraldo Magnaye, the Philippine Exercise Director of the Balikatan 2014, said EDCA would strengthen Philippine-US ties.

“Signing of the EDCA would expand the rotational presence of our American allies in the Philippines and the visit of President Barack Obama highlighted the cooperation among our forces outside the Balikatan,” Magnaye said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the guest of honor during the opening ceremonies, said EDCA is a “cornerstone for peace and stability in the Asia Pacific.”

“EDCA elevates to a higher plane our defense agreement and provide new momentum to our partnership,” del Rosario said. “This increases a regional importance in our alliance.”

Del Rosario added that EDCA would improve the maritime security, maritime domain awareness and disaster response of the military.

Gazmin added that EDCA is meant solely to improve the Philippine-US military cooperation.

“This Balikatan has been held after we have forged the EDCA,” Gazmin said. “We as allies both recognize it would serve as enabler, making it effective for us to conduct combined exercises.”

Goldberg, who co-signed with Gazmin the document, said EDCA would be helpful to Filipinos in “maintaining the peace.”
He said EDCA would not only enhance the Philippine’s military capabilities but would bolster the presence of US troops in humanitarian and relief operations.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

The mess created by Aquino’s defense treaty May 8, 2014 11:04 pm by RIGOBERTO TIGLAO


Rigoberto Tiglao


What a mess President Aquino has put the country into by rushing the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, just so he can boast that US President made a state visit under his watch.

In order to speed up the negotiations, Aquino made the talks practically secret and refused to consult with the Senate, which the Constitution says must ratify any treaty the country enters into with another nation.

I strongly suspect it was Aquino and our ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia who offered the Americans the treaty in exchange for Obama’s visit.

With both of them having just two years left in office, Aquino and Cuisia were desperate not to be in the league of President Estrada and his ambassador who failed to get the president of the most powerful nation on earth to visit the country.

Indeed, Obama had already visited Indonesia (twice), Thailand, Camdodia, and Burma—countries with which the US doesn’t have any of that “special relationship” the Philippines is proud of. The window was fast closing: it’s 2014 and never has a US president visited a Philippine president on the way out of office. (What for?).

The EDCA shows all signs of an agreement rushed so that Obama could include the Philippines in his Asian tour to oversee its signing. The Americans even made Manila as his last stop, to send a message to Aquino that without the treaty Obama could cancel his trip to the Philippines for some reason.


“Good work, boys.” US State Secretary John Kerry with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario (file photo), US ambassador to the US Cuisia during Obama’s recent visit.

Foreign affairs assistant secretary for American Affairs Carlos Sorreta, who has the rank of an ambassador, headed—the primus inter pares of—our negotiating panel since the talks with the US started in August 2013. A lawyer, and a veteran of many international negotiations, Sorreta is the most knowledgeable on the intricacies and legal aspects of international treaties, and has vast experience in negotiating with Americans.

He was suddenly yanked out of the panel March 1 at the height of the negotiations that US Ambassador Philip Goldberg had to tell the press Sorreta’s ouster didn’t mean there were any problems in the talks. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario assigned Sorreta to head the Foreign Service Institute, one of the most boring posts in the Foreign Affairs Department.

Did Sorreta’s boss feel that he wasn’t moving his ass fast enough to wrap up the treaty in time for the Obama visit? Or did Sorreta discover that the talks were a charade and that del Rosario and Cuisia had already told the US that the EDCA would be ready for signing in time for Obama’s visit?

Veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas, who has been covering Foreign Affairs for decades, wrote in her blog:

“The talk in the DFA was that Sorreta was opposing a number of items in the draft agreement which he felt were in blatant violation of Philippine sovereignty. Del Rosario and Cuisia who were willing to give wholeheartedly what the Americans wanted, were annoyed with Sorreta’s stand.

“A source said, Sorreta was heard to comment during the negotiations: “I think we should put the country’s interest ahead of personal business interests.” Del Rosario and Cuisia were businessmen before joining the foreign service.

Cuisia in fact is the only ambassador to the US (out of the 200 envoys from all over the globe there) to be a part-time one, as he is an active board member of eight major Philippine corporations, including SM Prime Holdings, one of the country’s biggest firms. Cusia is vice-chairman of Philam Gen Life Insurance, chairman of Chevrolet’s Philippine distributor, and director of Integra Business Processing Solutions — firms which one way or another are linked to US businesses.

The Bulgarian 2006 treaty which was EDCA’s template (see my column of Wednesday, “PH-US pact bad copy of Bulgarian, Romanian treaties” ) was a comprehensive one with 9,000 words and dealt with all the necessary legal aspects involving foreign troops in a sovereign country, such as US troops’ exemption from visas, taxes and import duties, driving licenses, labor arrangements with locally recruited staff, to the all important jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases.

Our agreement was a third of that, with only 2,800 words, with the other aspects necessary to implement the pact to be subject of “to-follow” annexes.

Pact will cost us

A feather in Aquino’s and Cuisia’s caps the pact may be, but it would cost us severely.

Whether we like it or not, America’s military forward operating sites in Bulgaria and Romania is to Russia, what their new sites in our military bases will be to China: “Flexible forward American bases,” as Russian President Vladimir Putin put it in 2007, which he said raised tensions in his region. Russia retaliated to Bulgaria’s giving the US bases by pushing up the prices of gas it sells to the country.

First, we filed a suit in an international arbitration body against China, we had our top diplomat the foreign affairs secretary ranting against Chinee bullying, and now we entered into a pact with the US to allow its forces and war materiel “pre-positioned” on our soil.

Two days after the EDCA signing, it was the foreign affairs secretary, and not the defense secretary. who opened the war-game exercises by US and Filipino troops, and who emphasized that the pact will enhance the country’s maritime security.

The Chinese would be so dense if they didn’t get the message: “You are our enemy, and big-brother Uncle Sam, the sole military superpower in the world, is behind us now, and his troops and supplies will be on our soil very soon to fight you.”

With the EDCA transforming our territory into America’s forward operating site, its 21st century version of military bases in the region, I don’t think China would ever see us as an ally or even a friend in the region it would assist through massive official development assistance, as it has in the case of Cambodia and even Vietnam.

However, once our senators realize that they are being made stooges of Aquino — who after all has just two years in office — and if they find some shred of dignity, they would require that the agreement be ratified by the Senate. The Constitution is quite categorical:

“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.” ( Section 25, Article XVIII).
I can’t see how this government can stretch logic and language so it could skirt such very categorical provisions of the Constitution, how it can claim that US military structures built to house its pre-positioned war materiel aren’t “foreign military facilities” or that the American troops manning them aren’t foreign military troops on Philippine soil. How can Aquino commit this nation, without the Senate’s appoval, to a ten-year pact which will be in effect long after he steps down to spend his time driving a Porsche around Tarlac?

The arguments raised by Aquino’s officials—that EDCA is merely an extension of the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 and the Visiting Forces Agreement of 1998—are absurd and utterly false.

The Mutual Defense Treaty did not authorize the establishment of US military bases in the country. It was the US Military Bases Treaty that did, which was made in 1947 when our war-ravaged country was so dependent on the US aid. But the Senate refused to extend that pact in 1991. The Visiting Forces Agreement of 1998 merely specified the legal framework covering US military personnel in the Philippines engaged in joint exercises with Filipino forces.

Political manservant

What a political manservant to Aquino Senate President Franklin Drilon has become when he said Monday: “The Senate cannot compel Malacañang to submit the EDCA for ratification.”

Has he forgotten, or chose to forget what the Constitution says, that all treaties entered into by the President must be ratified by the Senate? Is he openly saying the Senate won’t fulfil its constitutional role?

And we have precedents which we cannot pretend not to exist.

Bulgaria and Romania had been under dictatorships for decades. Yet their governments demonstrated such respect for their constitutions when they asked their parliaments to approve in 2006 their defence agreements with the US, which Aquino’s EDCA copies nearly word for word.

But then, even if by some miracle the Senate ratifies the EDCA, we face a bigger, probably insurmountable obstacle.

The Constitution not only requires its ratification as a treaty by our Senate, but that it also be “recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” In the case of the US, its Senate will have to ratify EDCA as a treaty, just as the US Senate ratified in March 1952 the Mutual Defense Treaty signed in August 1951.

Will the US Senate bother to ratify the EDCA?

I don’t think so. The superpower will invoke the agreements with Romania and Bulgaria which didn’t require the US Senate ratification. (The constitutions of the two Balkan countries did not require, as it does in our case, that the agreements must be “ recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” )

Such a fine mess Aquino has brought us, again, just as the case of his pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which most likely will go on a war-path when the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional, or if Congress refuses to enact the law to give the insurgents their own substate.

What happens if the Supreme Court rules that it must ratify the EDCA, if the Senate blocks the treaty, or if it ratifies it but Aquino is unable to get the US Senate to do the same and therefore has to scrap the pact?

What if after 2016 an independent Senate that is not servile to Aquino decides to put the 10-year pact to a vote for ratification, and the majority wins to scrap it?

Our image in the US, as it had happened in 1991 when the Senate voted against US military bases, would be that of an ungrateful, arrogant former colony in the East that snubbed the sole superpower in the world. And since 1991, we know the consequences of such a development: US development aid would trickle to zero, and American business interest would wane.

The US would be tellin us: “It was your choice to scrap a new defense agreement we signed, go deal with China by yourselves!”

With the quagmire Aquino has brought our country into, the only good thing that could come out of this sorry episode is for the Senate to realize how much it has become so servile to Mr. Aquino’s wishes, how much it has defaulted on its constitutional role as a check on this administration, and that it has to require the EDCA’s ratification by the body.

Is Drilon so afraid that he can’t convince his colleagues to ratify EDCA, now that he doesn’t have PDAF or DAP to bribe them?

FROM ELLEN TORDESILLA'S BLOG

EDCA: a mockery of the Constitution


From Dennis Garcia's FB wall

In the Facebook wall of Dennis Carcia, musician, advertising executive, painter and Abante columnist, there’s a picture of Obama signaling something with two fingers.

Dennis captioned it: “EDCA:I can summarize the agreement in two words- NO RENTAL. “

The post elicited a comment from Noy Dy-Liacco: “I can do it in one: FREE!

The banter is a spoof of the TV musical game show “Name the Tune.”

EDCA is Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, a document so detestable it makes a mockery of the Philippine Constitution and ridicules Philippine sovereignty.

When we read the EDCA signed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg on the day that Obama arrived for a two-day state visit, we wanted to line up those responsible for EDCA against the wall so we can tell the Filipino people: “Here are the officials who sold us out again to the United States.”

Who are they?


Usec Batino, with new members of the panel Amb. Eduardo Malaya and Amb. Lourdes Yparraguirre confer with their US counterpart.


The Philippine panel was headed by Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino.

Members included The Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre, Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya, Justice Department Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, and DND Assistant Secretary for strategic assessments Raymund Jose Quilop.

We all know that the panel was getting instructions from the Del Rosario and Gazmin. The two cabinet secretaries reported to President Aquino and nothing in EDCA was without the approval of the chief executive.

At the start of the negotiations, the DFA representative in the panel was Assistant Secretary Carlos “King” Sorreta, considered an expert in American affairs. Early this year, Sorreta was removed from the panel and Yparraguirre, ambassador to Austria and Malaya, ambassador to Malaysia were brought in.


King Sorreta and Batino

The talk in the DFA was that Sorreta was opposing a number of items in the draft agreement which he felt were in blatant violation of Philippine sovereignty. Del Rosario and Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia Jr., who were willing to give wholeheartedly what the Americans wanted, were annoyed with Sorreta’s stand.

A source said, Sorreta was heard to comment during the negotiations: “I think we should put the country’s interest ahead of personal business interests.” Del Rosario and Cuisia were businessmen before joining foreign service.

Now Sorreta is relegated to the Foreign Service Institute.

EDCA is a basing agreement. No amount of euphemism by Malaya and other officials will cure the Constitutional violation caused by this agreement. The worse about it is that those American bases are within the Philippine military camps!

The “Agreed Locations”, as what EDCA calls the U.S. bases within the military camps, will not be accessible to Philippine officials without the consent of the Americans.

EDCA states that “United States forces shall have the control over the access to and disposition of such prepositioned materiel and shall have unencumbered right to move such prepositioned materiel at any time from the territory of the Philippines.”

EDCA also stated that “United States forces are authorized to exercise all rights and authority within the Agreed Locations that are necessary for their operational control or defense, including taking appropriate measures to protect United States forces and United States contractors.”

One of the elements of a State is sovereignty – the supreme right of the state to command obedience within the state.

With EDCA, the Philippines has waived its sovereignty over parts of its territory. Without sovereignty over our whole territory, what are we?

And we are granting this for free.

Actually “sell out” is not an accurate term because we are giving the Philippine to the U.S. for free. “Without rental” is the term used in EDCA.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador Phillip Goldberg after signing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador Phillip Goldberg after signing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Some said since the Aquino government has discarded all pretenses of being an American lackey, it should have allowed the U.S. to establish again their military bases in the country and negotiated for a good price.

Former senator Rene Saguisag has a better suggestion: Let the U.S. build a military base in Ayungin Shoal.

There are many more detestable provisions in EDCA. Hopefully, that would be brought out to the public in the Senate inquiry (not for ratification) that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called for.

- See more at: http://www.ellentordesillas.com/2014/05/06/edca-a-mockery-of-the-constitution/#more-23652


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