Centerlaw joined a group of petitioners asking the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
EDCA is a new security agreement between the Philippines and the United States that allows more US troops to come to the Philippines and give them access to selected Philippine military bases.
Leading the petitioners at the filing on on May 27, 2014 were former Senators Wigberto Tañada and Rene Saguisag. They were among the 10 senators who voted in 1991 against the extension of the US military’s lease on Subic Naval Base in Zambales province, as well as Clark Air Base in Pampanga province for another 10 years.
According to Centerlaw’s Harry Roque, “the EDCA is unconstitutional.
“While the Aquino administration claimed that it is in furtherance of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, neither treaty is in fact applicable. The MDT is applicable only in case of an armed attack against our “metropolitan territory” or attacks against our “islands in the Pacific”. Since there is currently no armed attack, and since an attack on the Spratlys cannot trigger the application of the MDT, the EDCA cannot possibly be based on the MDT. Neither can it be anchored on the VFA because the presence of US troops pursuant to EDCA goes beyond “visiting”. It is in fact an implementation of a US Defense policy to do away with permanent bases. This being the case, EDCA had to be signed as a separate agreement from the MDT and the VFA. This is why our policy makers, through a 2/3 vote of all our senators, need to give their concurrence to the agreement . This is to ensure that it is pursuant to our national interest.”
The other petitioners are former UP President Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo Jr., Dean Pacifico A. Agabin, Sr. Mary John Mananzan, lawyer Steve Salonga, who is a son of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, lawyers Harry Roque, Evalyn Ursua and Edre Olalia, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, Dr. Roland Simbulan and former Rep. Teddy Casiño of Bayan.