Possible stricter sanctions of the US government against Philippine officials involved in the administration's war on drugs might have led President Rodrigo Duterte to take action towards abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), according to GMA resident analyst Richard Heydarian.
Interviewed on GMA News TV’s Balitanghali on Monday, Heydarian said the decision of Duterte did not come only from the recent cancellation of the US Visa of ally Senator Ronald dela Rosa.
Duterte was also concerned that the sanctions of the US government might expand to something more than a simple travel ban, according to Heydarian.
The threat of terminating the treaty is Duterte’s warning signal to the US government that he is willing to use the VFA as leverage to protect his inner circle from these possible stricter sanctions.
Heydarian pointed out that for Duterte, these sanctions are direct assault to his democratic mandate and to the sovereignty of the Philippines.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said terminating the VFA as Duterte had ordered would "negatively impact the country’s defense and security arrangements." —Joviland Rita/LDF, GMA News