[Press Release] Congress should check rather than support Malacanang’s ‘illegal’, ‘dangerous’ pact with the US -PM
Congress should check rather than support Malacanang’s ‘illegal’, ‘dangerous’ pact with the US
A former partylist representative of Partido ng Manggagawa, Renato Magtubo, slammed the leadership of the House of Representatives for prematurely endorsing an illegal and dangerous military bases pact being cooked up by Malacanang and the Whitehouse.
The new security deal would allow the US free access and use of Philippine bases particularly in Manila, Clark, Palawan, Cebu, Nueva Ecija and La Union.
Defense Undersecretary Pio Batino who headed the Philippines’ negotiating panel explained earlier that the agreement does not violate the Constitution. There is also no need for this to be ratified by the Senate because it is just an implementing document of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
House leaders Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao and Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna on their part welcomed this news as they approve the concept of “rotational presence” of American troops in the country.
But in a statement Magtubo said, “The new pact, to whatever model it shall be patterned, is aimed at getting around the constitutional ban on the presence of foreign troops in the country, the same way the VFA was framed under the guise of joint military exercises to justify temporary presence of American troops in the country.”
Magtubo pointed out that under the new deal, the Philippines does not just welcome the US forces as “visitors” but accepts them as a conjugal operator of its facilities under the veil of “rotational presence”.
He insisted that instead of giving a blanket approval, Congress should rather forewarn the Executive about the dangers in executing a kind of agreement that would clearly undermine the Constitution, otherwise they both fall under suspicion of plotting to bring this country back to the era of cold war where a weak country is forced to side with either of the contending global powers.
Magtubo argued further that giving the US forces unlimited access and free use of our facilities to serve as deterrent to China is in fact the weakest security argument of this pact, saying China is not blind to the mighty land, air, and naval powers the US had in the Pacific.
“So what do we gain from showing to China that we have a 24/7 US soldiers in our soil? Nothing, we are just giving China “the bully” more reasons to believe that the Philippines exercises no sovereignty and independent foreign policy and thus may be a worrisome play pawn by the US,” said Magtubo.
Partido ng Manggagawa is advocating a negotiated solution to the disputed claims over the group of islands in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea.
Magtubo said disputed islands are better left for common use and development of all claimants rather than making them springboards to a senseless war.
Partido ng Manggagawa
17 March 2014
Contact: Renato Magtubo
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