The Philippines cannot reverse the termination of the visiting forces agreement (VFA) with the United States since the government already sent a formal notice to Washington, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday (February 16).
Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on defense and national security, said there is no more chance of the VFA being restored unless the Supreme Court intervenes and rules in favor of the Senate.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said he and some of his colleagues plan to challenge President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to terminate the VFA before the Supreme Court.
Duterte ordered the VFA scrapped without getting the Senate’s concurrence.
“Halimbawa nagkaroon ng petition nag-rule ang SC at halimbawa hindi nag-concur ang 2/3, ‘di nakakuha ng 2/3 sa Senado,” Lacson said. “Ibig sabihin deemed hindi abrogated. Maski in-abrogate ng Pangulo kasi kung magkaroon ng ruling ang SC, hindi matutuloy.”
In the absence of action from the Supreme Court, however, Lacson said the termination of the VFA is deemed final.
“Dahil na-notify na, may formal notice na eh. So talagang abrogated na. Nagbibilang na lang ng araw, 180 days,” he said.
Lacson said he supports Sotto’s move to challenge the VFA’s termination before the Supreme Court.
“Mainam na rin na ma-clarify yun para matigil na rin yung mga haka-haka tulad nito, para malinaw. Kasi kapag naging part na ng jurisprudence, ibig sabihin alam na ng executive branch, alam na ng legislative branch o Senado particularly,” he said.