KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: EDCA bars suits on its legality PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 May 2014 11:19

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

 

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… `the truth shall make you free’…” (Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in John 8:32, the Holy Bible).

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EDCA PROHIBITS SUITS TO TEST ITS LEGALITY: Can any case be filed before the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States? The answer is that, yes, technically, a case can be filed to test the agreement’s constitutionality or legality or even abuse of authority in its execution, under Section 1, Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution.

However, it would seem that the Aquino government and the framers of EDCA did not want anyone to file any case to determine its constitutionality or legality, before the Supreme Court or  any other court in the Philippines, and before any court in the United States, or even before any other international court or tribunal.

This is what Art. XI of EDCA, as printed in the Official Gazette online version, provides: “The Parties agree to resolve any dispute arising under this Agreement exclusively through consultation between the Parties. Disputes and other matters subject to consultation under this Agreement shall not be referred to any national or international court, tribunal, or other similar body, or to any third party for settlement, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties.”

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EDCA UNCONSTITUTIONAL: Even if only because of this, it is clear that the EDCA is grossly unconstitutional and wantonly violative of the 1987 Constitution. For under the Charter, passed under the first Aquino presidency, the Supreme Court has been given an expanded judicial power.

I say “expanded judicial power” because, as the Cory Aquino government envisioned then, the Supreme Court was not simply authorized to resolve legal and judicial disputes. The Cory Constitution also granted the Supreme  Court the power to rule whether the act of any official of any government agency or instrumentality, and even of government-owned and controlled corporations, constitutes abuse of authority.

Certainly, when EDCA through its Art. XI decreed that any dispute about it shall not be referred to any national or international court, tribunal or other similar body, or to any third party for settlement, it violated the grant by the 1987 Constitution of expanded judicial power to the Supreme Court. On this basis alone, EDCA can be struck down.

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BETRAYAL OF TRUST IN EDCA: Indeed, why would the Aquino government and the US insert a provision in the EDCA prohibiting the referral of any dispute over EDCA to the courts—whether Philippine courts or US courts? This tactic shows one of two things: one, either a distrust of the capacity of Filipino and American courts to pass upon the legality, constitutionality, or any abuse in the execution of, EDCA.

Or two, there is perception among EDCA framers that it could not withstand judicial scrutiny and could therefore be declared null and void and inefficacious later on. Either way, the insertion of Art. XI in EDCA to prohibit referral of any dispute about it to the courts constitutes a betrayal of both the Filipino and American peoples’ trust.

It also shows the sinister design of the Aquino and Obama governments in entering into the EDCA: they are determined to evade compliance, at all cost, with the Philippine Constitution’s provisions on presence of foreign troops and facilities in the Philippines, in an effort to fortify the US plan on regaining dominance in Asia.

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REMINDERS: Please tune in: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac sa DZEC”, at 1062 kHz on the AM band, Mondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas sa Radyo Trabungko FM”, at 103.7 mHz in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Mondays to Fridays, at 7 a.m.; and “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas sa DYKA” at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, at 10 a.m.