Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between United States of America and Philippines signed by National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg will definitely pass Supreme Court’s scrutiny, President Benigno S. Aquino III believes.
Aquino said that what his administration did with EDCA was constitutional and is needed. He added that the agreement is in connection with standing Mutual Defense Treaty between US and PHL.
The President added that if the defense treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement are constitutional then EDCA, which only clarifies the implementation of previous treaty and agreement, is also lawful.
During the presentation of oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of EDCA November 18, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said, “Should we not give them a chance first?” The Chief Justice added that it may be premature to question the constitutionality of EDCA given that it is not yet implemented.
EDCA aims to boost interoperability between two armed forces, help AFP modernization, strengthen country’s external defense, maritime Security, territorial awareness and speed-up humanitarian assistance and response in time of disaster.
The agreement will allow per-positioning of US warships and increase rotating US troops in the country. Though US will be able to use Philippine military bases to house equipments, US will not assume ownership.
Presentation of oral arguments before the high court will resume next week.