By Mario Casayuran
The apparent failure of the Philippine government to have a strong national defense posture is a cumulative mistake of past administrations, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said on Tuesday.
President Duterte shares that burden or blame after he reportedly instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to send the Philippine government’s decision to abrogate the 21-year-old RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“So it is now up to the Philippine government to protect our own national interest,’’ he said.
“It is a rule in foreign relations that foreign policy is always for the benefit of the country that enunciates that policy,’’ Drilon told Senate reporters.
On plans of some senators to review the VFA, Drilon said there is nothing to review after the President has terminated he VFA.
If the VFA is terminated, the RP-US Expanded Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) cannot stand alone because, according to the Supreme Court, the EDCA cannot be effective if the VFA is terminated.
Drillon cited a statement of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. that the MDT is inutile if the VFA and EDCA are made ineffective.
Last Monday night, the Senate voted in the affirmative a resolution authored by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and Senators Drilon and Panfilo M. Lacson expressing the sense of the Senate that President Duterte should reconsider his plan to abrogate the VFA.
Drilon said this is a matter that the President has the power to reconsider or not in the course of his decision-making process.
But he faces the consequences of his actions, he stressed.
Read more: PH serves VFA termination notice to US