Aquino unruffled by SC cases vs Edca
MANILA, Philippines – Despite being questioned by two former senators, President Benigno Aquino III wasn’t bothered that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) had been challenged in the Supreme Court.
“That was expected,” Aquino told reporters on Tuesday at the sidelines of the Philippine Navy’s 116th anniversary celebration held in Palawan.
“It was expected that there will be quarters that would file it and true to form, most of those that I saw in the papers today that filed were the ones expected to file,” he added.
A group of former lawmakers, academics and lawyers has asked the Supreme Court to suspend the implementation of the Edca, which grants US forces access to Philippine military bases.
Heading the group of petitioners were former Senators Wigberto Tañada and Rene Saguisag who both pushed for the removal of US military bases more than a decade ago.
Joining them in the filing of a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the agreement were UP President Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo Jr., Dean Pacifico A. Agabin, Sr. Mary John Mananzan, lawyer Steve Salonga, who is a son of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, lawyers Harry Roque, Evalyn Ursua and Edre Olalia, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, Dr. Roland Simbulan and former Representative Teddy Casiño of Bayan.
The group also asked the court to issue a writ of prohibitory injunction or a temporary restraining order pending the SC decision on whether Edca indeed violated provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
On Tuesday the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan), together with other partylist groups and people’s organizations filed their own petition questioning the Edca before the high court.
Naval Station Carlito Cunanan, the headquarters of Naval Forces West, is said to be one of the possible locations covered by the Edca, which was signed amid rising tensions between China and other Asian nations.
But Aquino denied that his presence at the base had anything to do with China.
“Not everything I do is related to China,” he said.
During his speech, however, Aquino paid tribute to members of the Philippine Navy who continue to defend the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.