Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago believes President Benigno Aquino III may be impeached by entering into a ten-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with United States. “These are culpable violations of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust, for allowing a foreign government to maintain military bases without Senate concurrence.”
“Contrary to the claim that the EDCA does not involve the establishment of military bases, the EDCA gives the US rights of possession, control, and use over areas of Philippine territory described as ‘Agreed Locations,” the lady senator added.
However, Acting Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, defending EDCA before the Supreme Court, said, “the general features of foreign military bases– extraterritoriality, exclusivity in use, and foreign ownership – are not present in these Agreed Locations.”
Malacanang said that Philippines will own any building and similar infrastructure that will be built by the US military. The AFP base commander will also have access to the entire area of the facilities shared with the US military.
Senator Santiago noted that the senate will conduct a public hearing next week, December 1. She clarified that though the Supreme Court is yet to make a decision on the constitutionality of EDCA, “no proceeding before any government agency can inhibit the Senate from conducting its own proceedings.”
The House of Representatives has already ruled on an impeachment case against Aquino using EDCA as grounds last September. House Committee on Justice ruled that three impeachment cases, one based on EDCA, were insufficient in substance.