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Ex-AFP chief Biazon: SC can rule if Senate nod needed on VFA's fate

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Rodolfo Biazon on Saturday said only the Supreme Court can set the record straight if Senate’s concurrence is needed after the executive branch terminated the two-decade old Philippines-United States Visiting Forces Agreement.

During the weekly news forum in Quezon City, Biazon said that while the Constitution is clear on the “shared power” of the President and Senate in treaty-making, it is “silent” on whether a unilateral termination or abrogation of an international pact is allowed.

Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution says treaties or international agreements are valid and effective when concurred in by at least 2/3 of the Senate.

“We need an action in the form of a ruling from the Supreme Court,” said the former AFP chief of staff and a former senator.

“No one can resolve the [matter] other than the Supreme Court,” he pointed out.

The Philippines has notified the US of its intention to terminate the 1999 agreement, which governs the conduct of US personnel holding military exercises here.

Duterte has threatened an end to the VFA after the US canceled the visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa, his ally and former police chief who used to lead his war on drugs.

Former Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, on Friday, said Duterte cannot terminate the VFA on his own as he negated the treaty-making powers of the Senate.

On the other hand, Senator Panfilo Lacson said there were talks in the Senate to file a petition before the SC to clarify their role in the termination of bilateral treaties.

Biazon welcomed moves by senators to clarify the upper chamber’s role in termination of international treaty before the high tribunal.

The VFA would be deemed terminated upon a party's written notice of its intention to end the agreement, which becomes effective after 180 days from such notification. —LBG, GMA News