US envoy: Impeachment ‘none of our business’ | Global News

US envoy: Impeachment ‘none of our business’

/ 12:01 AM July 27, 2014


TUBLAY, Benguet, Philippines—US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said on Thursday that the impeachment complaint filed against President Benigno Aquino over a deal that would allow US forces to stay in the Philippines without a treaty is none of the United States’ business.

Goldberg, however, said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), which militants claims violates the Constitution, was a “very good agreement.”


Replying to queries about the impeachment complaint filed by the Makabayan bloc of legislators, Goldberg said: “I don’t want to discuss internal matters here or anything that happens here. Whatever happens—either legally or politically—it is a Philippine matter.”


“But I can tell you that we are negotiating this agreement, which we think is a very good agreement that is mutually beneficial to both countries,” he added.

Mutually beneficial

“It helps provide the Philippines a greater ability to deal with new 21st-century security issues like… maritime domain awareness. It provides a greater ability to provide humanitarian assistance to disasters,” he said.

Goldberg visited the vegetable-growing town of Tublay in Benguet province on Thursday to see the progress made here on applying disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures, which the US government helped finance.

He toured coffee harvesting sites in Tublay, accompanied by Benguet officials.

On Friday, Goldberg hosted a reception for a belated celebration of his country’s July 4 Independence Day.


Ongoing process

During his Tublay visit, Goldberg said the Edca was an ongoing process that requires further negotiations to address issues raised by various quarters like sovereignty and its impact on the Philippine Constitution.

For instance, he said, the Philippine and US governments had not yet identified areas where the Edca would be implemented.

“Now about the internal matters here, whether it’s in Congress or in the Supreme Court, that’s the Philippines’ business,” he said. “But I will say that we took great care as we were negotiating it to take these issues into account.”

“So issues related to the Constitution, to sovereignty, to all the different aspects that were important here, we did take [them] into account as we discussed the agreement and I think we made a compromise as a result,” he said.

But the legal and political issues now affecting the Edca “are for the people here to decide,” Goldberg said.

The Senate in 1991 voted to kick out two of the United States’ biggest military bases outside of continental America. The Constitution bars permanent foreign military presence in the Philippines. Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino, Constitution, EDCA, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Foreign affairs, Impeachment, Philip Goldberg

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