MANILA — Malacañang on Friday said it would heed the Supreme Court (SC) in case it rules that President Rodrigo Duterte’s abrogation of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US) needs prior consent from the Senate.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace respects the Senate’s plan to question before the High Court the legality of Duterte’s termination of VFA sans the concurrence of the chamber.
“Eh ‘di (i)-elevate nila. Wala namang problema doon (Elevate the issue, if they want. There’s no problem with that),” Panelo told Palace reporters.
The Department of Foreign Affairs on February 11 sent to the US the formal notice of the Philippines’ revocation of the VFA.
The VFA, signed in February 1998, stipulates conditions for the conduct of visit of US forces to the Philippines.
The agreement, which was deemed by Duterte as disadvantageous to the Philippines, will be terminated 180 days after Washington received the formal termination notice.
Panelo, however, acknowledged that while Duterte has no plan to overturn his decision, SC has the final say on VFA’s fate.
He said the executive branch will follow the SC in the event that it sides with senators that there is a need for Senate nod on the withdrawal of the military pact.
“Eh di susundin natin. Basta kung ano ang batas yun ang susundin natin. Yung ang sabi ni Presidente (We will follow SC. Whatever the law says, we will comply. That’s what the President said),” Panelo said. (iam/sovereignph.com/PNA)