Office of Rep. Lorenzo R. Tañada III
Chairperson: Committee on Human Rights
Northwing 409, House of Representatives, Quezon City
telefax: 9316478 or 9315001 loc. 7368 email:erin_tanada@yahoo.com
News Release- 24 September 2009 References: Erin Tanada-09193688555 Media officer: Laurice Ramos- 09228433311
Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tanada III, Chair of the House Committee on Human Rights and Liberal Party spokesperson in Congress, lauded Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s sponsorship yesterday in the Senate plenary after filing Senate Resolution No. 1356, entitled “Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Department of Foreign Affairs should seek to renegotiate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, and in case of denial, should give notice of termination of the VFA.”
“But I would rather that we give notice of termination altogether rather than give the US the option to dilly-dally by saying that we are willing to renegotiate. This will send a stronger message that we have had enough of this downright unconstitutional treaty,” Tañada said.
“The fact that the US does not recognize the VFA as a treaty but as a mere executive agreement is already an affront to our Constitution. The Philippine Constitution requires that foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines, except under a treaty recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
The US Constitution provides that the US President has the power to make treaties, but only “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.”
He also added that “The VFA has NOT been concurred in by two-thirds of the US Senate. Likewise, there are provisions of the VFA that should be considered void. For example, the vagueness by which the term “visiting” is defined makes it prone to abuse to the extent that it now becomes a PERMANENT visit.”
“Finally, our experience with Nicole and other victims of US military troops during their so-called visit, point out the lopsidedness of the agreement. That the US is allowed to determine where a convicted US soldier-felon is to be detained for a crime committed within our territory bespeaks of a country direly lacking of the will to exercise its sovereignty.”
Tañada likewise thanked Sen. Defensor-Santiago for her very lucid speech. “Anyone who has heard her would say that termination is the only option for the VFA. I hope the Senate acts accordingly,” he ended. He welcomed the senator’s move, saying that the measure should be approved on third reading without delay. He welcomed the senator’s move, saying that the measure should be approved on third reading without delay.


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