February 17, 2009
KIKO CHALLENGES MALACAÑANG TO RE-EVALUATE US-RP RELATIONS IN LIGHT OF NEW OBAMA POLICIES
Fresh from filing Senate Resolution No. 892, which calls for the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement because it “clearly violates our constitutional provision on the presence of foreign military bases, troops, or facilities in the country”, independent senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan challenged Malacañang to re-evaluate the country’s partnership with the United States given the Obama administration’s new take on foreign policy issues.
“Change is afoot and we must realize that our own initiatives too must change,” Kiko said. “It is high time that we seek to transform our existing relationship between the US and the Philippines as reflected in the lopsided VFA.”
The VFA’s “lopsidedness” was recently revealed in a commentary written by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, where he stated that “The VFA violates our Constitution because the United States does not recognize and honor it as a treaty the way the Philippines does.” In a press statement, Kiko concurred with this and declared the VFA unconstitutional.
Citing US President Barack Obama’s reversal of many Bush policies, Kiko, a fellow lawyer and Harvard alumnus, said, “In the last ten years, the VFA evolved into an instrument that propelled the now-discredited Bush doctrine on the war against terrorism. This doctrine included, among others, the policy of preemptive strikes against terrorism, the invasion of Iraq, and the jailing of terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay in violation of international conventions.”
“The Obama presidency ran on the platform of reversing many of these policies,” Kiko pointed out. “It is time to re-evaluate our partnership with the US and institute fundamental changes towards a partnership more in keeping with major changes that have swept the US and taken the Republican Party out of the White House.”