AT LEAST three senators filed a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his planned revocation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States pending its review by the chamber.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon initiated the filing of Senate Resolution 312.
Sotto said he expects that “most, if not all” members of the chamber would support the resolution.
“A careful deliberation of these matters must be taken into account before finally arriving at a decision which will ultimately affect not only the security and economy of the Philippines but also that of our neighboring countries in the Asia Pacific region,” said in the resolution.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved to express as it hereby expresses the sense of the Senate to earnestly request the President to reconsider his planned abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the meantime that the Senate is conducting a review and impact assessment with the end in view of ensuring the continued safety and security of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific and maintaining the existing balance of power within the region,” it added.
It can be recalled that President Duterte ordered the review of the VFA for its termination after the US revoked the visa of his close ally, former police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
The senators conceded that the President has the sole authority in the country’s external affairs “being the chief architect of the nation’s foreign policy in the conduct of the external affairs of the nation.”
They, however, appealed that the Senate be given first the opportunity to review and assess the impact of the VFA withdrawal before the Philippine government pushes through with its plan.