Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Chubibo"-Taken for a Ride on Rotational Basis

"Chubibo"-Taken for a Ride on Rotational Basis
by Erick San Juan

According to Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, "the new access agreement with the US will not require the signatures of either President Aquino or US President Obama. It will be signed by concerned cabinet members, other diplomatic officials or heads of concerned agencies. The said agreement will not be a treaty or executive agreement but an implementing agreement of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty. So, it will not require Senate concurrence."

But Senator Miriam Santiago argued that any agreement involving the posting of troops and war equipment in another sovereign state is a treaty.

She said that while the president is authorized to negotiate or even approve an agreement, such deal “should only be limited to a topic connected to a prior treaty.”

She said it would not be right for the government to invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of the 1950s as the “prior treaty” since allowing foreign troops and equipment on Philippine soil “is a major subject in itself” and “not a minor case of detail.”

“So it cannot be classified as an executive agreement but as a treaty to which the Philippine Senate must give its concurrence,” she added.

Santiago advised the executive branch to let the Senate examine the deal or risk having it challenged before the Supreme Court (SC).

“The Senate is going to scream because we always fight for our power to concur with any ratification made by the President. That will become a constitutional issue and the case will automatically be elevated to the Supreme Court,” she said. “So it’s much better to have the Senate to concur with its ratification.” (Source: Marvin Sy,  philstar.com March 17, 2014)

As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Santiago said that “I have a problem with this proposal to embody American rotational presence in the form of an executive agreement. The administration knows or realizes that whatever the negotiations will immediately revive recent memories of the acerbic debate between those in favor and those against the Visiting Forces Agreement. The Constitution mandates that treaties and international agreements should be made in concurrence of the Senate. She said the US just wants to go around the Philippine Constitution by negotiating another agreement. Finally, she warned - "Please don't try any tricks for I am here.”  (Source: philstar.com by Christina Mendez Aug. 16, 2013)

Sen. Santiago is consistent and vigilant so as not to commit the same mistake when it comes to ratifying a treaty or agreement.
People repeating history is not a good sign in this exciting time when the perceived epicenter of the next global conflict will start here in the Asia-Pacific region. We should heed the warning of Sen. Santiago for the nth time that we will be the lightning rod attracting the master’s enemies in the process and be use as canon fodders.

Same is true with our last article that we expressed our doubt that this administration has actually did a patriotic shift. The lip service that we heard before has now being practiced again and in the process will take us all for a ride (translation – chubibo) on a rotational basis like what Uncle Sam wanted to do with this so-called enhanced military cooperation.
So what the f--k we need another agreement when in reality this ‘new animal’ is already being covered in the Visiting Forces Agreement that US troops will come and go on a rotational or on a temporary basis. They have been doing this for over a decade now and the truth is the temporary camp (a.k.a. base) in the south is off-limits, meaning exclusive territory rights for the US military. So what else is new with another agreement? Is there something that the big brother is not telling us? Or our leaders are too loyal to say no to a perceived master’s whim?       

Instead of making the so called 'camp sharing' agreement conform with our constitution, these not so bright boys will make the constitution conform with the agenda of their real 'boss'.

Only in the Philippines!

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