MANILA, Aug 2 (Mabuhay) — If the next administration plans to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement, they must consult the Senate before terminating the VFA, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Sunday.
“In the future, kung bigla na lang maisipan ng pangulo, kung sinoman ang pangulo, na umalis sa isang tratado, kailangan konsultahin niya at kunin ang pagpapasya ng senado,” Drilon said, reacting to President Dutert’s retraction of the VFA termination which was announced by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
As a policy-making body, the Senate should be involved in decision-making in foreign policy, said Drilon.
“Dahilan sa nakita nating urung-sulong na nakita natin sa VFA, iyan ay nagpapatunay na kailangan ang pag-uusap para lahat ng aspeto ay mapag-usapan at hindi executive lang ang magpapasya,” the minority senator said.
Drilon said the United States needs the agreement as it provides them free navigation while the Philippines needs the US amid Chinese incursions in Philippine territory.
To further insist that VFA is needed, the minority senator said the Philippines needed American assistance for security issues and AFP modernization.
President Rodrigo Duterte decided on the VFA’s abrogation back in February 2020 after the US canceled Senator Bato de la Rosa’s visa.
The treaty’s termination was suspended for 12 months only to have it retracted a month before the official termination to “uphold the country’s interest.” (MNS)