VFA review pushed

August 30, 2010

Bernadette Tamayo
August 30, 2010
People’s Journal

SEN. Francis Pangilinan is hoping that the Upper Chamber can pass a resolution urging Philippine and American officials to review the RP-US Visiting Forces agreement before President Benigno Aquino flies to Washington, D.C. this month.

“P’wedeng itulak. Pag-uusapan namin ni Sen.Miriam (Defensor-Santiago). And we’ll see how we can move things forward para mapalakas ang kanyang position,” Pangilinan told a radio interview.

“I think it would help. Makakatulong ‘yun kung may maituturo si Pres. Aquino (kay US Pres.Barack Obama) na ito ang panawagan ng aming Senado na hinihiling na pag-aralan muli na 10 taon na.”

Pangilinan earlier urged the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement to scrap the controversial agreement. He filed a resolution calling for the abrogation of the VFA in the 14th Congress, saying in its present form the agreement is unconstitutional and counterproductive.

“We urge President Aquino to scrutinize the VFA. It would be best to abrogate it, and then draft a new agreement that is not one-sided.”

Pangilinan said that the high-profile rape case against US Lance Corporal Daniel Smith and his eventual release to America was a dangerous precedent, that  points up the need for a new agreement.    

“We support the call of President Aquino to have the VFA reviewed, but we urge the administration to take the next step. We believe that the matter should be raised during the President’s official trip to the US come September, and that the initial discussions on the matter between their state department and our department of foreign affairs should begin,” he said.

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