MANILA – Senate President Vicente Sotto III has vowed to always protect the independence of the Senate even at the risk of losing political alliances and support.
“Personal interests should never outweigh public welfare. I will always choose to fight for the independence of the Senate. That is the legacy that I would like to leave this institution when my term comes to an end,” Sotto said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sotto reiterated his commitment to always put a premium on public welfare and the interests of the Senate over his personal concerns a day after leading his colleagues in challenging the unilateral abrogation of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) before the Supreme Court.
The Senate on Monday formally asked the SC to address the issue of whether the constitutional provision requiring the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate “also applies to termination of or withdrawing from treaties that have been validly ratified by the President and concurred in by the Senate.”
Senators who signed the petition, however, clarified that they do not intend to undermine President Rodrigo Duterte’s prerogative of implementing the country’s independent foreign policy.
Sotto said the legal move was meant to “assert the sense of the power of the Senate that we know and we think that we have.”
He maintained that senators must be consulted on vital matters like the termination of international agreements and treaties just as its concurrence is required before the same is ratified.
“This role is particularly important to ensure that the power to forge partnerships with our neighbors and allies remains impartial. The Senate must do its part in protecting the checks and balances in our government,” Sotto said. (PNA)