Biazon: Edca is constitutional-A A +A
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
A LAWMAKER said Tuesday that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the United States will be declared constitutional after two groups questioned the deal before the Supreme Court (SC).
House committee on national defense chairman Rodolfo Biazon said that "the agreement is just a plain agreement and cannot be treated as a treaty," that is why it does not need Senate ratification.
Biazon was senator for 12 years before he entered the House of Representatives in 2010.
The lawmaker said that Edca is defense and security in nature and not political. The agreement is also not permanent because it is only effective for 10 years.
“It does not require existing national policies which require Senate ratification but it is designed in a way to implement and enhance three treaties between the US and the Philippines,” Biazon said.
The former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) noted that any Filipino can raise the legality of Edca as he shrugged his shoulders after learning that the first petition was spearheaded by former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada.
The two retired legislators want the SC to nullify Edca, which was signed before the arrival of US President Barack Obama on April 28. The deal gives access to US troops to some AFP camps.
Militant groups Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) also questioned the deal, saying the Philippine government waived the country's sovereignty.
They said Edca was replete with provisions that are contrary to national interest including the rent-free provision for agreed locations, tax exemptions for American forces and their contractors, as well as the "unlimited term" of the Edca which will go beyond 10 years.
"No amount of dressing up can hide the embarrassing reality of premeditated perpetual dependency on the US as a supposed ally, with the umbilical cord of empty promises serving as a yoke in our necks," the petition read.
Petitioners also said that the Edca is in fact a basing agreement that was not ratified by the Senate, making it a violation of the Constitution. (John Carlo Cahinhinan/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)