Palace: Let’s wait for SC ruling on Senate role in treaty abrogation

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2020 05:47 PM

MANILA - Malacañang welcomed Tuesday the Senate’s decision to seek the Supreme Court’s wisdom on the chamber’s role in the abrogation of treaties after President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration unilaterally terminated the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the executive branch would wait for the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, saying it is a constitutional one.

“We will let the Supreme Court decide on that kasi (because) right now, there are conflicting legal opinions [from] so-called ‘legal experts’,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.

“Let’s wait for the Supreme Court to resolve it. It’s a legal issue, a constitutional issue at that,” he added.

Majority of senators present in Monday's session voted in favor of a resolution urging the Supreme Court to determine the Senate's role in the cancellation of treaties.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he has received word that the executive also wants the Supreme Court to rule on the chamber’s role.

“I’ve had a talk with the executive department. They are amenable to the resolution. They also want to find out. They also want to be clarified,” he said.

Under the Constitution, Senate concurrence is required when the executive branch enters into an international accord, but the law is "silent" on whether senators need to approve the president's decision to withdraw from it.

The VFA is the second pact that Duterte pulled the Philippines out of without Senate concurrence. The President had also unilaterally pulled the country out of the International Criminal Court after the tribunal said it would probe his administration's bloody war on drugs.

-with a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News