Palace asks for Senate patience on US access to PH
MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Senate’s feisty senator may want the Americans out, but the Palace begged to differ.
After Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago warned that the access of American troops to Philippine bases impedes the Philippine Constitution, Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office asked the senator to wait for the final form of the agreement and see the positive side of the accord.
“My advice is to wait for the final agreement and the end of the series of talks since it’s still going on, it’s not complete yet, it’s not yet finalized,” Coloma said in a radio interview Sunday. “We respect the opinion of Sen. Miriam Santiago, but we must also wait for the conclusion of this new agreement.”
Department of National Defense Undersecretary Pio Batino heads a Philippine delegate to Washington D.C. to conduct a series of talks on increased US military access to the country.
Santiago earlier said that the new agreement between the two countries should not only be conducted between the two Executive branches of the two countries as the new agreement is considered a treaty and the Philippine Senate has a word on it.
Coloma, however, said that the new agreement could bolster the defensive partnership between the two nations and that Santiago should wait for the end of the talks.
“Let us see on how this new agreement differs from the previous ones, on how this strengthens the defense cooperation between the Philippines and the US,” Coloma said. “Once this is finished, once it’s ratified, there would be enough time to study it and decide on what to do about it.”
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