Study to end PH-US military deal up for Duterte's okay

The Department of Justice on Saturday said it had completed the study on the procedure for the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines and would formally present it to President Rodrigo Duterte tomorrow.

“I’m done with the study on the procedure for terminating the VFA but I have to submit first my [memorandum] to PRRD on Monday,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

He added the scope of the study was only limited to the VFA.

“We shall deal with the procedure for termination only, not the wisdom of the executive action. We shall answer such questions as: ‘Is the VFA a treaty or an executive agreement?’; ‘If it is a treaty, is

Senate concurrence required for termination?’; ‘Who will give the notice of termination?’ (and), ‘Is it necessary to state any ground for termination?’,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra made the clarification when asked whether the termination would extend to the 61-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty between Manila and Washington DC, which is the legal backbone for the presence of American troops in the country.

On Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Duterte ordered the DOJ to start the process of termination of the VFA following the cancellation of the US visa of retired top cop and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who used to be one of those who implemented the government’s anti-drug campaign.

Duterte earlier warned the US government he would scrap the agreement if the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa was not rectified within a month.

Signed by the Philippines and the US in 1998, the VFA is an executive agreement that stipulates how visiting American troops should be treated in the Philippines.

Aside from exempting US forces from passport and visa regulations, the agreement also states that their permits and licenses are also deemed valid in the Philippines.

The same policy also applies to Filipino troops in US military installations.

It also allows Washington to retain jurisdiction over US personnel accused of crimes committed in the Philippines. 

Topics: Department of Justice , Visiting Forces Agreement , United States , Philippines , Menardo Guevarra , Rodrigo Duterte
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