MANILA – Senators on Monday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) asking the tribunal to uphold Senate’s authority in the withdrawal or termination of treaties and international agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Panfilo Lacson, and Richard Gordon personally appeared at the Supreme Court to file the 56-page petition for declaratory relief and mandamus.
In the petition, the Senate asked the high court to declare that the withdrawal from or termination of a treaty previously concurred by the Senate should require the concurrence of 2/3 of its members for it to be valid and effective.
It also asked the high court to issue an order referring the notice of withdrawal of international agreements to the Senate for its concurrence.
Late in January, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to start the process of termination of the VFA following the cancelation of the US visa of retired national police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who used to be one of the lead implementers of the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Duterte earlier warned the US government that he would scrap the agreement if the cancelation of the visa of dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, is not rectified within a month.
Signed by the Philippines and the US in 1998, the VFA is an executive agreement that stipulates how visiting American troops should be treated in the Philippines.
Aside from exempting US forces from passport and visa regulations, the agreement also states that their permits and licenses are also deemed valid in the Philippines. The same policy also applies to Filipino troops in US military installations.
It also allows Washington DC to retain jurisdiction over US personnel accused of crimes committed in the Philippines. (PNA)