Duterte holds the key to fate of VFA, but ‘humility of listening’ is advisable – Lacson

Published February 26, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Mario Casayuran

 The President of the Philippine Republic, being the commander-in-chief, has the prerogative to decide on the fate of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Sen. Panfilo Lacson
(Joseph Vidal / FILE PHOTO)

But the President has nothing to lose and everything to gain in listening to the Filipino on their opinion on the issue whether or not the country should maintain the VFA or abrogate it, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee.

The VFA came into force on May 27, 1999.

Lacson had insisted that senators have a say in the VFA after being told by President Duterte that he had “nothing to do” with how the government handled negotiations to keep or scrap the controversial defense deal with the United States.

“Mr. President, read the 1987 Constitution. A senator has something to do with international agreements,” Lacson told Duterte in a post on Twitter.

Lacson has also expressed disappointment over the President’s controversial statement that the US has to pay for the VFA to be continued.

Then President announced that he would consult the people on the VFA issue.

Reacting, Lacson said: ‘’There you go! Nobody has the monopoly of wisdom regardless of power and authority.’’

‘’The best decisions are those made not out of hubris, but the humility of listening to as many people and trying to get a bit of what they have to say,’’ he stressed.

‘’At the end of the day, the decision is his to make anyway. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain in listening to others,’’ Lacson pointed out        

‘’What matters most is that our national interest, dignity and self-respect will be upheld,’’ he added.