Declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the country and the
The Supreme Court may not refer the agreement to the Senate without declaring EDCA as unconstitutional, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said on Tuesday at the Supreme Court during oral arguments on the EDCA.
Hilbay also said the high court may not force a referral to the Senate without the authority from the President.
Under the EDCA, the
will be allowed to build structures, store and preposition weapons, defense
supplies and materiel, station troops, civilian personnel and defense
contractors, transit and station vehicles, vessels, and aircraft for a period
of 10 years inside "agreed locations." US
Hilbay also said sending the agreement to the Senate for concurrence will delay its implementation.
"The Senate cannot be compelled to accept a responsibility it did not seek or does not want to assume," Hilbay said.
He also said the senators' not joining the petitioners may be a sign that they have agreed to the EDCA.
"The Senate's silence is a nuanced affirmation of the powers of the President," Hilbay said.
This is the first time the solicitor general faced the magistrates since his appointment. He was grilled for four hours by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and seven associate justices.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen cited a speech by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday that questioned the absence of Senate ratification in EDCA.
Hilbay said that he was not familiar with
pronouncement, adding that if the Senate or a senator was questioning the
agreement, then why are they not petitioners in the case. Santiago
"Again, why was the EDCA not submitted to the Senate?" Leonen said.
"Because the President considers it an implementing agreement of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement," the solicitor general responded.