Wala nang palugit! Locsin, Lorenzana start scrapping VFA on Duterte’s orders
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have started the process of terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Locsin tweeted Friday (January 24) that he and Lorenzana will inform the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about Duterte’s wish to scrap the agreement. Locsin chairs the VFA commission while Lorenzana is the vice chairman.
“@DFAPHL Leaving for Wash DC on unrelated matters. But called @dndphl Sec Lorenzana as Vice Chair—I am Chair of VFA—to start process of terminating USFVA. Step 1 calling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because on our side it is a treaty; on US side Executive Agreement,” Locsin said.
Duterte on Thursday (January 23) threatened to terminate the VFA if the US doesn’t reverse its decision to cancel the visa of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
The senator, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, confirmed to the media recently that his tourist visa to the US had been cancelled. However, he said the US embassy in Manila didn’t disclose the reason why it was revoked.
Locsin said Duterte can end the VFA even without the Senate’s approval, just like what the President did when he withdrew the country from the International Criminal Court after it launched a preliminary examination into the administration’s bloody war on drugs.
“There is a view which I think I shared once—on pulling out of ICC as I did as UN ambassador—that while Senate concurrence is required to make a treaty; none is required to terminate it which is an entirely personal Presidential power. But that’s just a view,” the Philippines’ top diplomat tweeted.
The VFA, which took effect in 1999, covers the conduct of American soldiers in the Philippines. The country has several military agreements with the US, among them the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.