By Rene Saguisag
As seen on the March 2020 issue of Philippine Sentinel
First, it was Corona Virus reminding us of an outstanding Atenean, Chief Justice Rene Corona. Now, we have Favilavir, reminding us of an Outstanding Bedan, Peter Favila. It is supposed to be a new Chinese drug to fight the VFA, Virus from America.
Jose P. Laurel, Sr. said that we citizens are particles of sovereignty. If so, the President Duterte may not ignore the sovereign who he, as No. 1 public servant, is pledged to serve in dealing with transcendental matters such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and its dimension beyond Senator Bato de la Rosa’s cancelled visa.
On the VFA, we heard Tantrum Ego in the Palace, to the tune of Solitaire. No public consultation of any kind needed!
In 1991, not to extend, or terminate, the bases treaty, the people were heard through the Senate which had conducted hearings. The spirit of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25, may be invoked here. It says: “After the expiration in 1991 of the Military Bases Agreement between the Philippines and the USA, no foreign military bases or facilities shall be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. When the Congress so requires, it must be ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
The spirit of the Constitution seems to be that in dealing with the bases, with a long-time ally ━ the USA, the less that we decide on the President’s order, the better. Involve the Senate as particles of popular sovereignty through a referendum. It is democracy versus Malacañang royalty.
Do we deal with a pure “political question,” where a decision is exclusively lodged in one branch of government? But one-man royalty would then trump democracy with its sounds and noises.
The people cannot be excluded. Former President Cory marched to the Senate in 1991. She failed to get 2/3 to concur and we ended the continuous presence of foreign troops on our soil. We were America’s last plantation but thereafter we can enter into any treaty with anyone, but approximating equals, at arm’s length, and not as an imposition by a colonial master.
For Duterte to end the VFA, given China’s hegemonic irredentism, the people should have been heard, through the National Security Council, the Senate, including the House, to make sure that the final outcome would be psychologically satisfying in terms of complying with the democratic process.
Else, we’d be particles of slavery, on whom the will of the great one is imposed. The VFA had to go because Senator Bato de la Rosa can no longer accept a reported and arguably illegal and unethical gift to watch a bout in the U.S., at the expense of fellow Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Two Pinoy boxers battered two Aussie boxers to death in 2015; one Aussie Brad Smith was even a law student. I am comfy though watching basketball where injuries also occur but that is not the raison d’etre of the game. We may all be concerned however that, for the first time in many years, we have no easy convenient access to the NBA. This may be another failure of the administration, another first, if somewhat relatively petty.
Covid9 has also disrupted, but it’s business as usual in the NBA. Too bad our Duterte cannot bully the NBA. He must have been shocked that Trump took the questionable VFA termination unquestioningly, even punctuating the savings. If Duterte may be seen as a proud and profane braggart, Trump may be even more so. Then, from out of the Blue, Digong says his move ensures Trump’s re-election. He has to read Trump’s Art of the Deal.
President Cory had to deal with various challengers but she beat them all, from Marcos down the line, working with all her might, and leaving the rest to God.
La Sallite and Bedan Leila de Lima, keep going ━ for the Motherland Illegitimi non carborundum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Oooops, excuse me. I mean, Dios mabalos.
— Rene Saguisag & Associates Lawyers
4045 Bigasan Street, Palanan
1235 Makati City, Philippines