MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States is constitutional.
Voting 10-4, the high court upheld the constitutionality of the executive agreement between the two countries.
Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Marvic Leonen dissented from the ruling favoring EDCA while Justice Francis Jardeleza inhibited.
The EDCA allows increased rotational presence of US military troops in the Philippines.
The SC upheld the executive's position that the EDCA is an implementing agreement of existing treaties such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty.
The high court stressed that the EDCA is an executive agreement and not a treaty that requires Senate concurrence.
On May 2015, former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada and militant lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate filed a petition against the EDCA, arguing that it violates provisions on national sovereignty, territorial integrity and interests, freedom from nuclear weapons and autonomy of local government units in the charter.
The petitioners argued that the agreement vioaltes Article XVIII, Section 25 of the Constitution, which states that any foreign military bases, troops or facilities "shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate."
According to a report, the petitioners may still file a motion for reconsideration against the SC ruling.