Palace defends Edca anew amid 3rd impeach rap vs Aquino

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

MALACANANG defended anew on Thursday the defense agreement between the Philippines and the United States amid the third impeachment complaint filed against President Benigno Aquino III.

The latest impeachment rap filed by different militant groups led by former Bayan Muna party-list representative Satur Ocampo against Aquino was based on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between Manila and Washington.

The third impeachment complaint accuses Aquino of culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Representatives Antonio Tinio (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) and Emmi De Jesus (Gabriela) endorsed the impeachment complaint in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

"As in the previous complaints, we will leave it to Congress, as an independent and co-equal branch of government, to assess and decide on its merits," said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.

The first two impeachment complaints against the President and were endorsed in the House were based on the decision of the Supreme Court declaring parts of the administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

"We maintain that the Edca is a response to the evolving security challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region on account of disputes among countries with maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea," Coloma said.

He added that Edca builds upon the Mutual Defense Treaty, which for more than 60 years, has served as the main platform for the strategic defense partnership between the Philippines and the US.

De Jesus said the agreement is a "clear giveaway of our country's sovereignty" as the 10-year defense pact that will grant the stay of larger rotational presence of American troops in the country.

The deal has given American troops access to the country's military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and pre-position equipment, aircraft and vessels. (SDR/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

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