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SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS LEGALITY, CONSTITUTIONALITY OF EDCA


JANUARY 13 -The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the legality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States in a decision that is seen to pave the way for greater US military presence in the country. Voting 10-4 in their first full court session for the year yesterday, the justices dismissed the consolidated petitions against EDCA filed by former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada and militant lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate. The development comes at a time when the Philippines is building up its military capability and firming up regional alliances in the face of China’s aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. A primer on EDCA specifically rules out reestablishment of US bases in the Philippines or permanent deployment of American service personnel on Philippine soil. Any pre-positioning of US military equipment, vehicles or aircraft in Philippine bases would be done with permission from local military authorities, the primer states. Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno penned the majority decision rejecting the petitioners’ argument that EDCA was constitutionally infirm. The SC disputed the arguments of petitioners – supported by the Senate through its Resolution No. 105 – that the agreement was a treaty similar to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). “The court disagreed with the Senate’s position submitted to the court by way of Senate Resolution No. 105 expressing its view that EDCA is a form of treaty that needed concurrence by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a press briefing, citing key portions of the ruling. The high court pointed out that the law requires Senate concurrence to a treaty and that an agreement can only be considered a treaty when it serves as an “instrument that allows the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities.”  The SC emphasized EDCA is “not the instrument that allows US troops or facilities to enter as the VFA already has done that,” citing its earlier ruling that upheld the validity of the VFA. “The EDCA provides for arrangements to implement existing treaties following entry of foreign military troops or facilities under the VFA and the MDT, and thus may be in the form of an executive agreement solely within the powers of the President and not requiring Senate concurrence under Article XVIII, Section 25 of the Constitution,” Te explained. The high tribunal also agreed with the executive branch’s position that EDCA complies with the requirement of the law not to go beyond the parameters, limitations and standards set by the treaty it purports to implement. Instead, the high tribunal held that EDCA is a valid executive agreement that the President is allowed to enter into under Article XVIII Section 25 of the Constitution to implement the VFA and the MDT of the 1950s. “As an executive agreement, EDCA remains consistent with existing laws and treaties that it purports to implement,” stated the ruling read by Te. READ MORE...

ALSO: Eight camps being considered as host sites for EDCA
[Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said the shortlist contains military installations in Nueva Ecija, Clark, Palawan, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.]


JANUARY 13 -EDCA, which was signed by the Philippines and the US on April 28, 2014, allows American troops to pre-position defense assets in Philippine bases. File photo
At least eight military camps are being considered as sites that would host the US equipment to be pre-positioned in the country for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), an official said on Wednesday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said the shortlist contains military installations in Nueva Ecija, Clark, Palawan, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. “They can be part of the areas that can be devoted for maritime security and maritime domain awareness. But there is no final agreement yet,” Padilla said in a press conference. He said the priority sites for the EDCA are Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and Basa Airbase in Pampanga. Other camps that will be subjected to further discussions are the Antonio Bautista Airbase in Palawan, Benito Ebuen Airbase in Cebu, Clark Airbase in Pampanga, Lumbia Airfield in Cagayan de Oro and unnamed naval bases in Palawan and Cebu. Padilla said negotiators from the Philippines and the US would soon resume discussions on the implementing regulations of EDCA now that the legality of the bilateral deal has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Voting 10-4, Supreme Court justices has ruled that the EDCA is constitutional and does not need the Senate’s ratification to be implemented. The high court said the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), not the EDCA, is the instrument that permits American forces or facilities to enter the country. The VFA, which was signed by the Philippines and the US in 1998, allows American soldiers to conduct trainings in Philippine soil. According to the Supreme Court, the EDCA provides for arrangements to implement existing treaties following the entry of foreign military troops or facilities under the VFA and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). The MDT, signed in 1951 allows the two Philippines and the US to jointly develop their security capabilities to resist armed attacks. READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines, US to fully implement EDCA after SC ruling
[The DFA official noted that the EDCA will allow the US to have access to existing Philippine military facilities without establishing their own bases. This would also improve the Philippines's disaster response capabilities.]


JANUARY 13 -A local marching band welcomes the arrival of sailors aboard the USS Topeka (SSN-754), a Los Angeles-class submarine, as it prepares to be docked at the Alava pier off Subic port in Zambales province for a three-day port call at northwestern Philippines, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. The Philippines' Supreme Court declared as constitutional on Tuesday the 10-year defense pact, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, that allows American forces, warships and planes to temporarily base in local military camps in a boost to U.S. efforts to reassert its presence in Asia, where China has loomed large. AP/Jun Dumaguing
  Following the decision of the Supreme Court to affirm the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the Philippines and the United States are now set to discuss the arrangements for its full implementation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.
DFA spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview with ANC's Headstart that the two countries were inhibited from implementing the details of the agreement until the high court came out with its decision. "We can now proceed with the discussions with the US for arrangements for its full implementation," Jose said. Jose noted that the US was also anticipating the decision of the high court. "I think they have been monitoring and they have been anticipating because the Supreme Court was supposed to come out with a decision several times in the past but they were postponing it," the DFA spokesperson said. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDCA dissenters - Philippines may lose sovereignty


A protester displays a placard during a rally at the US Embassy to protest the Philippine Supreme Court's decision on Jan. 12, declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA as constitutional in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The Philippines' highest court ruled as constitutional a 2014 defense pact effectively allowing American forces, ships and planes to temporarily station in at least eight local military camps. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Upholding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US means the Philippines gets to strengthen its defenses but loses its sovereignty, according to the four dissenting justices of the Supreme Court.

Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen disagreed with the majority ruling of 10 magistrates on EDCA, arguing that it is a treaty by nature, expands the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty, and needs Senate concurrence. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also criticized the decision, saying the high court failed to rise above its problematic ruling on the VFA. “The Supreme Court contradicts the power of the Senate. The Constitution clearly states that without Senate concurrence, no treaty can become law. Now, the court is saying that the executive may call agreements by another name in order to bypass the Senate,” the lawmaker said. Leonen opened his dissent with the line “Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta” (You are all like virgins who believe in the love of a whore) quoted from the movie Heneral Luna. The scene showed General Antonio Luna rebuking those who believed that the US would respect Philippine independence. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Ruling to boost Philippine defense amid China assertiveness’


JANUARY 13 -Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the pact could help in the AFP modernization program. Philstar.com/File
Malacañang and the United States hailed yesterday the Supreme Court (SC) decision declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and the Philippines constitutional. The EDCA will help strengthen the country’s overall national defense posture amid China’s assertiveness in the West Philippine Sea, a Palace official said. The US government also hailed the ruling. In a statement, the US embassy said,“The US welcomes the SC decision to uphold the agreement, which will further strengthen the US-Philippine bilateral relationship.” “The EDCA is a mutually beneficial agreement that will enhance our ability to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and help build capacity for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” it said. “We look forward to working closely with our Philippine partners on the implementation of this agreement,” the embassy added. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the pact could help in the AFP modernization program. Quoting President Aquino, Coloma said the EDCA would introduce the AFP to the “most modern military equipment” and allow “a generational leap in our abilities” to operate the defense materiel. Aside from upgrading military equipment and capability on maritime and territorial defense, Coloma said the agreement would enhance the country’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response. “The SC ruling on EDCA strengthens the strategic partnership between the Philippines and the US that is founded on two important building blocks – the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement,” Coloma said. Aquino earlier said the EDCA was not meant to strengthen the country’s defense against China but was merely a refinement of a longstanding defense treaty between the Philippines and the US. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also welcomed the SC decision upholding the constitutionality of the EDCA. “The EDCA is a critical component of our efforts to enhance and strengthen national security and improve our humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities,” the DFA said. “With the high court’s decision, the Philippine and US governments can now proceed in finalizing the arrangements for full implementation of the agreement,” it added. US Ambassador Philip Goldberg had said EDCA is not directly tied to the West Philippine Sea issue. Under the EDCA, Goldberg said there would be more cooperation in terms of maritime security between the US and the Philippines. During the hearing of the Senate committee on foreign relations in December 2014, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the EDCA contains provisions on strengthening the country’s maritime security, which are not contained in the Visiting Forces Agreement. READ MORE...

ALSO: Militant group from Mindanao assails SC’s ruling on EDCA


JANUARY 13 -Activists (left) and policemen clash during a lightning protest rally at the gate of the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila yesterday. The protesters hurled paint bombs on the seal of the US Embassy as they called for the abolition of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) after the US and Japan announced the planned establishment of military bases in the Philippines. (Ali Vicoy)
DAVAO CITY — The recent ruling rendered by the Supreme Court declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) as constitutional was assailed by militant group BAYAN in Southern Mindanao Region (BAYAN-SMR) in a statement released to the media on Tuesday evening (January 12, 2016).  Activists (left) and policemen clash during a lightning protest rally at the gate of the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila in September 2015. The protesters hurled paint bombs on the seal of the US Embassy as they called for the abolition of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Militant Group BAYAN in Mindanao assailed the recent ruling by the Supreme Court declaring the EDCA as constitutional on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.“It paves the way for completing the imperialist master’s wish to return and further oppressed its puppet. EDCA is nothing but an agreement between a master and its puppet,” Sheena Duazo, secretary-general of BAYAN-SMR said. Duazo added that the ruling of the highest tribunal on EDCA is a blatant attack and violation to the national sovereignty of the country. “This is a sad day but we are more determined to continue exposing and opposing US military intervention in the Philippines,” she pointed out. On Tuesday, the military deal EDCA was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court with the justices voting 10-4-1. EDCA was signed under the Aquino administration last 2014, during the heightened disputes on the West Philippine Sea between the Philippines and China. But for Duazo, EDCA cannot help the country in resolving the crisis in the West Philippine Sea. “The US has no intention to do that. It is being used by the US to make the Philippines its doormat to China,” she said. She called on Filipinos, especially the people in Mindanao to stand firm and resolutely oppose the return of US military bases and all social ills and all crimes associated with the bases. “We should not let another Jennifer Laude or Nicole be victimized by arrogant, murderous and rapist US troops,” Duazo asserted. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

SC upholds EDCA

MANILA, JANUARY 18, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Edu Punay - January 13, 2016 - The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the legality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States in a decision that is seen to pave the way for greater US military presence in the country.

Voting 10-4 in their first full court session for the year yesterday, the justices dismissed the consolidated petitions against EDCA filed by former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada and militant lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate.

The development comes at a time when the Philippines is building up its military capability and firming up regional alliances in the face of China’s aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.

A primer on EDCA specifically rules out reestablishment of US bases in the Philippines or permanent deployment of American service personnel on Philippine soil.

Any pre-positioning of US military equipment, vehicles or aircraft in Philippine bases would be done with permission from local military authorities, the primer states.

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno penned the majority decision rejecting the petitioners’ argument that EDCA was constitutionally infirm.

The SC disputed the arguments of petitioners – supported by the Senate through its Resolution No. 105 – that the agreement was a treaty similar to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

“The court disagreed with the Senate’s position submitted to the court by way of Senate Resolution No. 105 expressing its view that EDCA is a form of treaty that needed concurrence by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a press briefing, citing key portions of the ruling.

The high court pointed out that the law requires Senate concurrence to a treaty and that an agreement can only be considered a treaty when it serves as an “instrument that allows the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities.”

The SC emphasized EDCA is “not the instrument that allows US troops or facilities to enter as the VFA already has done that,” citing its earlier ruling that upheld the validity of the VFA.

“The EDCA provides for arrangements to implement existing treaties following entry of foreign military troops or facilities under the VFA and the MDT, and thus may be in the form of an executive agreement solely within the powers of the President and not requiring Senate concurrence under Article XVIII, Section 25 of the Constitution,” Te explained.

The high tribunal also agreed with the executive branch’s position that EDCA complies with the requirement of the law not to go beyond the parameters, limitations and standards set by the treaty it purports to implement.

Instead, the high tribunal held that EDCA is a valid executive agreement that the President is allowed to enter into under Article XVIII Section 25 of the Constitution to implement the VFA and the MDT of the 1950s.

“As an executive agreement, EDCA remains consistent with existing laws and treaties that it purports to implement,” stated the ruling read by Te.

READ MORE...

“No court can tell the President to desist from choosing an executive agreement over a treaty to embody an international agreement, unless the case falls squarely within Article XVIII, Section 25,” the SC said in its decision read by Te.


SC spokesman Theodore Te

“In the field of external affairs, the President must be given a larger measure of authority and wider discretion, subject only to the least amount of checks and restrictions under the Constitution,” the SC stressed.

Joining Sereno in the majority ruling were nine magistrates: Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Bienvenido Reyes.

Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen dissented, while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza took no part due to his previous handling of the case as solicitor general.

The main decision, as well as the concurring opinion of Carpio and dissenting opinions of De Castro, Brion and Leonen, were not immediately released as they were still being circulated among the justices for signature.

Te explained that the ruling could still be subject to appeal as provided for under court rules.

Asked on the possible effect of the ruling on the Senate’s contrary position, the SC official stressed that the high court has the mandate under the Constitution to resolve constitutional issues.

The high court had reset deliberations on the case three times in November and last month before finally coming up with its decision that was announced yesterday.

The case was heard by the high court in oral arguments in November 2014 and had been up for resolution since December 2014.

Under the EDCA, the US will be allowed to build structures, store as well as preposition weapons, defense supplies and materiel, station troops, civilian personnel and defense contractors, transit and station vehicles, vessels and aircraft for a period of 10 years.

It was signed by Philippine and US officials hours before President Obama arrived in the country for his two-day state visit on April 28 and 29, 2014.

Obama’s pushing hard for EDCA was part of his so-called strategic “pivot” to Asia. He said during his visit that EDCA would give US forces “greater access to Filipino facilities, airfields and ports, which would remain under the control of the Philippines.”

The Philippines hosted two of the largest overseas US military bases until 1992, following a Senate vote to end their leases.


PHILSTAR

Eight camps being considered as sites for EDCA By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated January 13, 2016 - 6:27pm 1 90 googleplus0 0


EDCA, which was signed by the Philippines and the US on April 28, 2014, allows American troops to pre-position defense assets in Philippine bases. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - At least eight military camps are being considered as sites that would host the US equipment to be pre-positioned in the country for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), an official said on Wednesday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said the shortlist contains military installations in Nueva Ecija, Clark, Palawan, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.

“They can be part of the areas that can be devoted for maritime security and maritime domain awareness. But there is no final agreement yet,” Padilla said in a press conference.

He said the priority sites for the EDCA are Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and Basa Airbase in Pampanga. Other camps that will be subjected to further discussions are the Antonio Bautista Airbase in Palawan, Benito Ebuen Airbase in Cebu, Clark Airbase in Pampanga, Lumbia Airfield in Cagayan de Oro and unnamed naval bases in Palawan and Cebu.

Padilla said negotiators from the Philippines and the US would soon resume discussions on the implementing regulations of EDCA now that the legality of the bilateral deal has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Voting 10-4, Supreme Court justices has ruled that the EDCA is constitutional and does not need the Senate’s ratification to be implemented.

The high court said the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), not the EDCA, is the instrument that permits American forces or facilities to enter the country. The VFA, which was signed by the Philippines and the US in 1998, allows American soldiers to conduct trainings in Philippine soil.

According to the Supreme Court, the EDCA provides for arrangements to implement existing treaties following the entry of foreign military troops or facilities under the VFA and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). The MDT, signed in 1951 allows the two Philippines and the US to jointly develop their security capabilities to resist armed attacks.

READ MORE...

The Supreme Court also ruled that EDCA is a valid executive agreement that the President is allowed to enter into under the Constitution.

Padilla said negotiating panels from both countries would come up with recommendations and forward them to the Mutual Defense Board (MDB) and the Security Engagement Board (SEB) for approval. The proposals will also require the approval of the Council of Ministers composed of the defense and foreign affairs chiefs of the Philippines and US.

“If the Mutual Defense Board assesses that it is necessary to increase our interoperability and enhance our capacities then it will be done, but it remains at the level of the MDB and SEB to make those recommendations,” Padilla said.

He could not say though when the negotiating panels would resume their talks.

“It is best to wait for our delegation to come back from Washington, they may have news regarding the timeline that can be followed regarding the preparation of the IRRs (implementing rules and regulations) that may be required to govern this agreement,” Padilla said.

EDCA, which was signed by the Philippines and the US on April 28, 2014, allows American troops to pre-position defense assets in Philippine bases.

The deal also provides the US greater access to bases in the country to address the gaps in the Philippines’s defense capabilities.

Officials said the agreement would increase training opportunities for US and Philippine force and support the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They, however, stressed that EDCA would not pave way to the return of US bases in the country.


PHILSTAR

Philippines, US to fully implement EDCA after SC ruling By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated January 13, 2016 - 2:38pm 4 191 googleplus1 0


A local marching band welcomes the arrival of sailors aboard the USS Topeka (SSN-754), a Los Angeles-class submarine, as it prepares to be docked at the Alava pier off Subic port in Zambales province for a three-day port call at northwestern Philippines, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. The Philippines' Supreme Court declared as constitutional on Tuesday the 10-year defense pact, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, that allows American forces, warships and planes to temporarily base in local military camps in a boost to U.S. efforts to reassert its presence in Asia, where China has loomed large. AP/Jun Dumaguing

MANILA, Philippines - Following the decision of the Supreme Court to affirm the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the Philippines and the United States are now set to discuss the arrangements for its full implementation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

DFA spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview with ANC's Headstart that the two countries were inhibited from implementing the details of the agreement until the high court came out with its decision.

"We can now proceed with the discussions with the US for arrangements for its full implementation," Jose said.

Jose noted that the US was also anticipating the decision of the high court.

"I think they have been monitoring and they have been anticipating because the Supreme Court was supposed to come out with a decision several times in the past but they were postponing it," the DFA spokesperson said.

READ MORE...

The DFA official noted that the EDCA will allow the US to have access to existing Philippine military facilities without establishing their own bases. This would also improve the Philippines's disaster response capabilities.

"With them already in the Philippines, with their material here, the equipment, we would be able to save response time and that means we would be able to save more lives," Jose said.

Under the EDCA, the US will be allowed to construct bridges or roads that will be owned by the Philippines, Jose said.

Jose further explained that a board will be created to review and fine-tune the details and implementation of the agreement on a "per activity basis."

DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin earlier met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in Washington to discuss bilateral and global issues.

RELATED: Philippines, US to discuss bilateral issues in Washington


PHILSTAR

EDCA dissenters: Philippines may lose sovereignty By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 18, 2016 - 12:00am 0 12 googleplus0 0


A protester displays a placard during a rally at the US Embassy to protest the Philippine Supreme Court's decision on Jan. 12, declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA as constitutional in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The Philippines' highest court ruled as constitutional a 2014 defense pact effectively allowing American forces, ships and planes to temporarily station in at least eight local military camps. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Upholding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US means the Philippines gets to strengthen its defenses but loses its sovereignty, according to the four dissenting justices of the Supreme Court.

Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen disagreed with the majority ruling of 10 magistrates on EDCA, arguing that it is a treaty by nature, expands the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty, and needs Senate concurrence.


Santiago renews call to junk VFA -2016 Presidential aspirant Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago renewed her call to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) of the Philippines with the United States days after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca). On Sunday, Santiago called for her colleagues in the Senate to ask for a renegotiation or abrogation of the VFA. “Philippine sovereignty, as well as the rights and dignity of its citizens, suffered immensely during the 17 years of operation of the VFA. Let us assert our sovereignty and call for the total abrogation of this agreement,” Santiago said in a statement. The senator, who is also the chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, lamented that the VFA makes the Philippines dependent on US, putting military modernization in the back burner. By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net 03:27 PM January 17th,

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also criticized the decision, saying the high court failed to rise above its problematic ruling on the VFA.

“The Supreme Court contradicts the power of the Senate. The Constitution clearly states that without Senate concurrence, no treaty can become law. Now, the court is saying that the executive may call agreements by another name in order to bypass the Senate,” the lawmaker said.

Leonen opened his dissent with the line “Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta” (You are all like virgins who believe in the love of a whore) quoted from the movie Heneral Luna. The scene showed General Antonio Luna rebuking those who believed that the US would respect Philippine independence.

READ MORE...

“History will now record that in 2016, it is this Supreme Court that said yes to the EDCA. This decision now darkens the colors of what is left of our sovereignty as defined in our Constitution. The majority’s take is the aftermath of squandered opportunity,” the youngest magistrate lamented.

Leonen concluded his 58-page dissent saying the majority succeeded in emasculating the Constitution, effectively erasing the blood, sweat and tears shed by Filipino martyrs.

“I register more than my disagreement. I mourn that this court has allowed this government to acquiesce into collective subservience to the Executive power, contrary to the spirit of our basic law,” he lamented.

De Castro opined that EDCA “is entirely a new treaty” that needs Senate concurrence as required under Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution.

She believes the agreement that allows the construction of permanent buildings for US troops, bunkering of vessels, maintenance of vehicles and the storage and prepositioning of defense materiel proves the permanent nature of stay of the American forces in the country.

“While it is true that the Philippines cannot stand alone and will need friends within and beyond this region of the world, still we cannot offend our Constitution and bargain away our sovereignty,” De Castro reasoned in her 28-page dissent.

Brion said in his 65-page separate dissenting opinion that EDCA widened the scope of VFA and the Treaty of 1951. He suggested to have it suspended and to give the executive branch 90 days to get a concurrence. If the President fails to do so, then the majority ruling would be affirmed.

“To accord a lesser respect for our own Constitution is to invite America’s disrespect for the Philippines as a co-equal, sovereign and independent nation,” Brion stressed.

Although critical of the decision, Santiago said the Senate has to abide by the decision as she urged her colleagues to reiterate their position that the government must renegotiate or abrogate EDCA. – With Christina Mendez


PHILSTAR

‘Ruling to boost Philippine defense amid China assertiveness’ By Pia Lee-Brago and Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 13, 2016 - 12:00am 2 18 googleplus0 0


Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the pact could help in the AFP modernization program. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang and the United States hailed yesterday the Supreme Court (SC) decision declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and the Philippines constitutional.

The EDCA will help strengthen the country’s overall national defense posture amid China’s assertiveness in the West Philippine Sea, a Palace official said.

The US government also hailed the ruling.

In a statement, the US embassy said,“The US welcomes the SC decision to uphold the agreement, which will further strengthen the US-Philippine bilateral relationship.”

“The EDCA is a mutually beneficial agreement that will enhance our ability to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and help build capacity for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” it said.

“We look forward to working closely with our Philippine partners on the implementation of this agreement,” the embassy added.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the pact could help in the AFP modernization program.

Quoting President Aquino, Coloma said the EDCA would introduce the AFP to the “most modern military equipment” and allow “a generational leap in our abilities” to operate the defense materiel.

Aside from upgrading military equipment and capability on maritime and territorial defense, Coloma said the agreement would enhance the country’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

“The SC ruling on EDCA strengthens the strategic partnership between the Philippines and the US that is founded on two important building blocks – the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement,” Coloma said.

Aquino earlier said the EDCA was not meant to strengthen the country’s defense against China but was merely a refinement of a longstanding defense treaty between the Philippines and the US.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also welcomed the SC decision upholding the constitutionality of the EDCA.

“The EDCA is a critical component of our efforts to enhance and strengthen national security and improve our humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities,” the DFA said.

“With the high court’s decision, the Philippine and US governments can now proceed in finalizing the arrangements for full implementation of the agreement,” it added.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg had said EDCA is not directly tied to the West Philippine Sea issue.

Under the EDCA, Goldberg said there would be more cooperation in terms of maritime security between the US and the Philippines.

During the hearing of the Senate committee on foreign relations in December 2014, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the EDCA contains provisions on strengthening the country’s maritime security, which are not contained in the Visiting Forces Agreement.

READ MORE...

He said the agreement does not actually allow the establishment of foreign military bases in the Philippines.

The AFP welcomed the SC ruling on the EDCA, saying it would improve the country’s maritime security and territorial defense.

“The SC decision boosts our defense cooperation with a key ally,” AFP chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri told reporters.

The Department of National Defense (DND) believes the high court ruling will enhance the capabilities of the military.

“With this development, we look forward to advancing our defense modernization and strengthening maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities,” DND spokesman Peter Galvez said.

“This puts us in a better position to improve our interoperability with the US and increase our Armed Forces’ capacities,” Galvez added.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, said the SC ruling validated his vote against a resolution filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago stating that the EDCA has to be ratified by the Senate.

Trillanes said it is merely an executive agreement to implement the US-Philippine obligations under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

Santiago has yet to issue a statement on the SC decision.

According to her staff, Santiago wants to go over the high court’s ruling first.

The senators who signed the resolution were Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Ralph Recto and Pia Cayetano.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV abstained in the voting. – Jaime Laude, Alexis Romero, Marvin Sy


MANILA BULLETIN

Militant group from Mindanao assails SC’s ruling on EDCA by Alexander D. Lopez January 13, 2016 Share5 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share36


Activists (left) and policemen clash during a lightning protest rally at the gate of the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila yesterday. The protesters hurled paint bombs on the seal of the US Embassy as they called for the abolition of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) after the US and Japan announced the planned establishment of military bases in the Philippines. (Ali Vicoy)

DAVAO CITY — The recent ruling rendered by the Supreme Court declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) as constitutional was assailed by militant group BAYAN in Southern Mindanao Region (BAYAN-SMR) in a statement released to the media on Tuesday evening (January 12, 2016).

 Activists (left) and policemen clash during a lightning protest rally at the gate of the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila in September 2015. The protesters hurled paint bombs on the seal of the US Embassy as they called for the abolition of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Militant Group BAYAN in Mindanao assailed the recent ruling by the Supreme Court declaring the EDCA as constitutional on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

“It paves the way for completing the imperialist master’s wish to return and further oppressed its puppet. EDCA is nothing but an agreement between a master and its puppet,” Sheena Duazo, secretary-general of BAYAN-SMR said.

Duazo added that the ruling of the highest tribunal on EDCA is a blatant attack and violation to the national sovereignty of the country.

“This is a sad day but we are more determined to continue exposing and opposing US military intervention in the Philippines,” she pointed out.

On Tuesday, the military deal EDCA was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court with the justices voting 10-4-1.

EDCA was signed under the Aquino administration last 2014, during the heightened disputes on the West Philippine Sea between the Philippines and China.

But for Duazo, EDCA cannot help the country in resolving the crisis in the West Philippine Sea.

“The US has no intention to do that. It is being used by the US to make the Philippines its doormat to China,” she said.

She called on Filipinos, especially the people in Mindanao to stand firm and resolutely oppose the return of US military bases and all social ills and all crimes associated with the bases.

“We should not let another Jennifer Laude or Nicole be victimized by arrogant, murderous and rapist US troops,” Duazo asserted.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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