Senate President Vicente Sotto III led other senators on Monday in asking the Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the concurrence of the Senate is necessary in the abrogation of a treaty previously concurred in by the upper chamber.
Sotto, along with Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon, filed the 56-page petition for declaratory relief and mandamus.
“We will ask whether an agreement very difficult to enter into can be revoked by a simple letter,” Sotto said in a text message.
“Parang pag-aasawa o pagpasok sa anumang kontrata, puede ba ang simpleng, ‘Ayaw ko na. Game over.’ In cases like these, the Supreme Court is the Oracle we consult,” Sotto said.
They asked the SC to declare that a treaty previously concurred in by the Senate should require the concurrence of at least two thirds of the members Senate upon its withdrawal.
Named respondents in the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
The petition was filed after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on February 11 sent a Notice of Withdrawal of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to the United States Embassy in Manila.
According to Article IX of the VFA between the Philippines and US, the withdrawal should take effect within 180 days from the receipt of the notice.
“As such, the Senate has until August 9, 2020 or the 180th day from the Notice of Withdrawal within which to question the unilateral withdrawal by the President from the VFA,” the petition stated.
President Rodrigo Duterte pulled out of the VFA after Washington canceled the visa of his ally, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.