MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Senate today, Thursday, 06 February 2020, starts a thorough review of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States that President Duterte wants revoked.
Aside from the VFA, the Senate foreign relations committee chaired by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III will also hold discussions on other international agreements and deals the Philippines entered into with the United States.
Resource persons have been invited and will discuss also the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) aside from the VFA.
It was gathered that during the hearing a resolution jointly filed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, urging the President to abandon his plan to have the VFA abrogated will also be discussed.
President Duterte’s declaration to scrap the VFA came on the heels of the cancellation of the US visa of long-time ally Sen. Ronald dela Rosa but Palace Spokesman Sal Panelo clarified this last week saying the visa issue as only “the last straw” of many strings of US missteps including its attack on PH sovereignty by urging Duterte to let incarcerated Senator Leila de Lima go free.
The resource persons invited include officials of various government agencies like Foreign Affairs, National Defense, National Economic and Development Authority, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Pimentel said.
“We are exercising also our oversight function, subject matter treaties,” Pimentel said. (IAMIGO/SPH.com)