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SENATORS SAY

US temporary access to PH military bases might violate Constitution

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Sen. Gregorio Honasan and Sen. Panfilo Lacson INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—Two senators  have raised  an  alarm over  the  Philippines’ plan to  allow the  United States and other allies  “temporary access” to  its military bases, one saying  it might be a violation of the Constitution.

“Technically, I think it may be a violation of the Constitution,” Senator Gringo Honasan said in a text message on  Friday.

“But if our national interest and  security are at stake, we have limited choices because we are still a developing country at the mercy of and dependent on powers like the US and China,” he said.

Honasan said the  “temporary access” might be  a violation of the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits foreign military bases in the country.

Despite this,  the senator  said he would back  the plan if  only  to stop  China  from “bullying” the  Philippines on  the issue of the West  Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“For practical purposes, our national security is an urgent matter given the fact that China is not moving away. It’s only with the US that China could be cowed,” Honasan said in Filipino in a phone interview.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said  the Department  of National Defense should exercise prudence  by consulting first the Senate.

“There is a wide gray of area of interpreting the planned move of allowing temporary access to our military bases by the US and other allies. Having  said that, the DND should exercise prudence by at least consulting the senators on the matter,”  Lacson said in a separate  text message.

“After all, the Senate is mandated by the Constitution to ratify bilateral agreements between our country and another and using temporary access as  technicality to go around that constitutional does not speak well of the defense department,” he further said.


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Tags: China , Constitution , Military , Military Bases , Philippine Constitution , Philippines , South China Sea , territorial dispute , US , West Philippine Sea



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