The Philippine's Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg (2nd R) sign the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Quezon city, metro Manila April 28, 2014. Photo by Al Falcon, Reuters
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar -- President Aquino is confident the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the United States and the Philippines will be upheld by the Supreme Court.
Aquino spoke to media at the conclusion of the 24th ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
“Will it stand scrutiny? iyong...Consistently when they were reporting to me, we kept on working on fine-tuning it to make sure it adheres completely with the Constitution.
"So will it stand scrutiny? Yes. Will there be people who will try to derail it? Yes, also. But we are reasonably confident that anybody looking at it objectively will be able to say that we have met all the stipulations in the Constitution.”
Critics have questioned the constitutionality of the agreement, with leftist party Bayan Muna accusing the government of opening the country to becoming a big US base by signing the agreement. The party-list group has indicated plans to ask the high court to declare the agreement as unconstitutional.
The EDCA was signed just hours before US President Barack Obama’s State Visit to Manila last April 28. In that visit, Obama maintained his country’s “iron clad commitment” to defend the Philippines, a treaty ally.
The US has refused to be drawn into a confrontation with China, who is claiming ownership of the South China Sea—parts of which are also being claimed by the Philippines.
The EDCA, supposedly an implementing agreement of the decades-old Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the US and the Philippines, will allow US forces to use Philippine military bases as part of efforts to upgrade the defense capabilities of both countries.