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3rd impeachment complaint filed vs. PNoy


(Updated 5:44 p.m.) A third impeachment complaint was filed against President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, four days before he delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), this time, in connection with the Philippine-United States Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The 67-page complaint was endorsed by militant lawmakers ACT-Teachers’ party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus.

The petitioners accused Aquino of committing a culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust by pushing for EDCA’s affirmation since the agreement supposedly violates constitutional provisions banning the presence of foreign troops and bases and the use and entry of nuclear weapons in the country without a treaty concurred in by the Senate and approved by a plebiscite if required by Congress.

Other constitutional provisions supposedly violated by Aquino through the EDCA were those on national sovereignty, territorial integrity, independent foreign policy, civilian supremacy, judicial power and jurisdiction, anti-war and anti-nuclear wastes and on the protection of the environment.
 
"The agreement is not just a sellout, it's a clear giveaway of our country's sovereignty. It’s worse than the other agreements our country has entered into in the past. For us, Aquino’s decision to enter into this agreement constitutes a strong basis for impeachment." De Jesus said.
 
“With the EDCA, President Aquino surrendered national sovereignty, compromised our territorial integrity, and prejudiced the national interest,” Tinio said in a statement.

EDCA is a 10-year defense pact that will allow an enlarged rotational presence of American troops in the country. Under the agreement, US military personnel will have access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and the right to pre-position equipment, aircraft and vessels.

EDCA is legal

As with earlier impeachment raps, Malacañang said it will leave it to the House of Representatives, which is dominated by Aquino's allies, to assess the new complaint.

In a statement, however, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. maintained that the EDCA is legal and only builds upon the existing Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US.

"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 on Thursday afternoon.

Lopsided in US's favor
 
Apart from violating several provisions in the Constitution, the petitioners alleged that Aquino committed a culpable violation of the Constitution when he negated the Senate’s power by “deliberately and purposely” refusing to submit the EDCA to the Upper House for concurrence as required by the Constitution.
 
The complainants also argued that Aquino betrayed the public’s trust when he entered into the EDCA since the pact is "prejudicial to the national interest and [is] grossly lopsided in favor of the United States of America” since it grants US military forces and contractors “unimpeded access and use” of Philippine military and civilian facilities, lands, ports, airfields, and radio spectrum that will revert to the Philippines only after they are no longer useful to the US forces, and further making such unimpeded access and use free of rent, tax and other government charges.
 
Critics earlier assailed the EDCA as a “deceptive agreement” because it does not come with the assurance that the US will come to the Philippines’ aid should its territorial row with China escalate into an armed fight. Two petitions questioning the pact’s constitutionality have been filed before the Supreme Court.
 
Among the 20 petitioners who signed the impeachment complaint were former Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson Maria Carolina Araullo, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment Convenor Clemente Guevarra Bautista Jr., and Rechilda Extremadura, Virginia Villarama, Narcisa Adriatico, Felicidad Delos Reyes, Estelita Dy and Luningning Lituañas of Lila Pilipina, an organization of former Filipino comfort women.
 
Two impeachment complaints were filed against Aquino earlier this week over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The first suit, filed Monday, was endorsed by Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate and Neri Colmenares, and Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap.

The second impeachment complaint, filed the day after, was endorsed by Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon.
 
An hour before the third impeachment suit was filed, Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan went to the office of House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap to add her endorsement to the first impeachment complaint. — with Andreo Calonzo/KBK/RSJ/JDS, GMA News
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