VFA prelim study now with Duterte – DOJ

February 07, 2020

JUSTICE Undersecretary Markk Perete yesterday disclosed that the “preliminary impact assessment” report on the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States has already been submitted to Malacañang.

“The report has been submitted. It’s up to the Office of the President to reveal its contents, “ Perete, the concurrent spokesperson of the Department of Justice, told reporters in a message.

He said the report contained inputs from the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for President Duterte to consider.

“The DOJ only tackled the legal matters concerning the VFA termination,” he said.

The DOJ had widened its study into the termination of the VFA with the so-called “preliminary impact assessment” now included.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the DOJ will determine if the VFA’s discontinuation would affect other similar pacts like the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

“Yung sa legal side, madali lang. Yung impact assessment ang kailangan ng masusing pag-aaral. The timeframe depends on how soon the Cabinet cluster or the VFA Commission can convene,” he said.

The Cabinet cluster is composed of Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government , Philippine National Police , Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Executive Secretary, and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Duterte’s ‘threat’ to terminate VFA stemmed from the cancelation of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s United States visa.

Dela Rosa, a former chief of the Philippine National Police before he joined the Senate, is a staunch ally of the President.