Carpio: EDCA will make China rethink attack on Philippines
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States will make China think twice before attacking Philippine military ships patrolling sovereign territory in contested areas in the Spratly archipelago, a Supreme Court justice said.

In a 10-page separate opinion on EDCA released Friday night, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio explained why he voted in favor of the defense agreement.

“This will give the Philippines a fighting chance to ward off China’s impending enforcement of its nine-dash line as China’s national boundaries as shown in its 2013 official vertical map,” he said.

The high court on Tuesday ruled that EDCA is constitutional and upheld Malacañang’s position that it is an executive agreement, not a treaty that requires Senate concurrence.

The high tribunal also ruled that EDCA is an implementing agreement of existing treaties such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

Carpio stressed that the territorial integrity of the Philippines has been violated openly and repeatedly. “China has already invaded several geological features comprising part of Philippine national territory as defined in the Constitution.”

For this reason, Carpio said he believes that EDCA is necessary to implement the MDT between the Philippines and the US, given China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

“To hold that the EDCA cannot take effect without Senate ratification is to render the Mutual Defense Treaty, our sole mutual self-defense treaty, totally inutile to meet the grave, even existentialist, national security threat that the Philippines is now facing in the West Philippine Sea,” he explained.

Carpio also saw the urgent need to fortify Philippine military defenses by prepositioning war materiel of treaty ally on Philippine soil.

“This court should not erect roadblocks to the President’s implementation of the Mutual Defense Treaty, particularly since time is of the essence and the President’s act of entering into the EDCA on his own does not violate any provision of the Constitution,” the magistrate said.

Carpio also said that the SC’s decision on EDCA would not affect the legal arbitration case that the Philippine government filed against China before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

China refused to participate in the legal arbitration and continues to use military force to assert its claim to almost the entire South China Sea.

“Given this situation, the proper equation in defending the Philippines’ maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea is ‘legal right plus credible self-defense equals might,’” Carpio said.

The MDT’s purpose is to declare publicly and formally the two allies’ sense of unity and common determination to defend themselves against external armed attack.

“If the Mutual Defense Treaty cannot attain this purpose without the EDCA, then the EDCA merely implements the MDT and executive action is sufficient to make the EDCA valid,” Carpio said.

He noted that when the US military left Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base in 1992, there was a “power vacuum” at the South China Sea.

 

 

ACIRC CARPIO CHINA DEFENSE EDCA ENHANCED DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT IF THE MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY PHILIPPINE SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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