“The President entered into the EDCA in the performance of his highest constitutional duty, because he did so to protect the integrity of the Philippine state,” acting Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay writes in a 32-page reaction to constitutional question filed by various individuals and groups in the Supreme Court.
Hilbay assumed as acting SolGen last August 28, 2014. He noted that President Aquino carried out his “prime duty to defend national security” with Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). “The President is the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is constitutionally designated as the protector of the people and the State.”
“The President, through the Department of National Defense, entered into the EDCA to perform his primary constitutional duty to promote national security interests,” says in the 32-page document.
The Solicitor General added that though the Armed Forces of Philippines is developing its disaster response capabilities, some instances may need response from the international community. “Close coordination and inter-operability with foreign forces, including units of the US, will be critical.”
The AFP Chief previously said that the country definitely needs EDCA. “If EDCA is delayed, we might not be able to respond immediately if there are strong typhoons. We want to pre-position HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster response) equipment, airplanes and boats. There will be a big effect if we do not [implement it].”