Sen. Koko Pimentel III today said nothing much would change in Philippine-United States relations.
Pimentel issued the statement after President Duterte was reported to be mulling the idea that he might not again seek the abrogation of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement.
On Feb. 11, 2020, the Philippines officially notified the US it would be terminating the VFA initially set for Aug. 9.
However, on June 2, 2020, the Philippine government decided on suspending its termination.
“The US has many problems too. It will have to ‘fix’ itself first. Then Philippine just has to continue with our ‘independent foreign policy’ welcoming and treating all States as ‘friends,’’’ Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said.
Pimentel, a former Senate President, said “the President can terminate the VFA, can suspend his decision to abrogate the VFA, can keep on extending the suspension, etc., of course always subject to what the other contracting state party does.’’
‘’When the Chief Executive enters into a new treaty, then Senate concurrence is needed before the treaty can be effective here in the Philippines or bind the Philippines as a state party,’’ he added.
‘’I will leave that to the Executive branch’’ was Pimentel’s answer to a query whether the Philippines want the PH-US VFA to continue.
On possible amendments to the VFA, Pimentel explained that ‘’it takes two to amend the VFA, meaning that is not our unilateral decision making process.’’