SC: EDCA fears can’t stop Noy
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – While fear of the re-establishment of US bases may have prompted opposition to the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), it cannot justify curtailing President Aquino’s constitutional prerogative to deal with issues particularly those involving foreign affairs and national security.

This was a position taken by the Supreme Court (SC) in upholding the constitutionality of EDCA last week.

“The fear that EDCA is a reincarnation of the US bases so zealously protested by personalities in Philippine
history arises not so much from xenophobia, but from a genuine desire for self-determination, nationalism, and above all a commitment to ensure the independence of the Philippine Republic from any foreign domination,” the high court said.

But it added “mere fears” should not cripple the President “when he deems that additional security measures are made necessary by the times.”

The magistrates who voted to uphold EDCA said “we believe fear of an attack on the Philippines is not in the realm of law, but of politics and policy.” Furthermore, they said that, “at the very least, we can say that under international law, EDCA does not provide a legal basis for a justified attack on the Philippines.”

In its 118-page decision on Jan. 13, the SC in full session dismissed the consolidated complaint against the EDCA.

The high court cited the Philippines’ efforts to rein in an aggressive China, including the filing of an arbitration case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

“In order to keep the peace in its archipelago in this region of the world, and to sustain itself at the same time against the destructive forces of nature, the Philippines will need friends,” the magistrates said.

“Who they are, and what form the friendship will take, are for the President to decide. The only restriction is what the Constitution itself expressly prohibits. It appears that this overarching concern for balancing constitutional requirements against the dictates of necessity is what led to EDCA,” the SC said.

“As it is, EDCA is not constitutionally infirm. As an executive agreement, it remains consistent with existing laws and treaties that it purports to implement,” the SC ruling read.

Aside from its sensitive relations with China, the government is also addressing other security issues like the fragile peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), terror activities by the Abu Sayyaf, as well as attacks by the New People’s Army.

The SC also urged the government to provide its Armed Forces with the capability to “fight with increasing sophistication in both strategy and technology, with employing asymmetric warfare and remote weapons.”

The court also cited the role of the US military in assisting Filipinos in areas ravaged by natural calamities, like the regions in the Visayas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda, which killed more than 6,000 people on Nov. 8, 2013.

In upholding the legality of EDCA, the SC also said the deal was based on existing treaties – Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

ABU SAYYAF ACIRC ARMED FORCES EDCA ENHANCED DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY NEW PEOPLE PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION PHILIPPINE REPUBLIC PRESIDENT AQUINO
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with