The following is the statement issued by former senators Guingona, Saguisag and Tañada plus several lawyers and concerned citizens regarding the military agreement to be signed between PH and US officials this morning.
We express our grave concern over news that a new military agreement called the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) will be signed between the Philippines and the United States during next week’s visit of US President Barack Obama.
The agreement apparently aims to increase and prolong the presence US troops in the country, and as government has already announced, allow the US access to Philippine bases, the prepositioning of US arms, military supplies and equipment as well as the construction and maintenance of US military facilities inside these Philippine bases.
Given these apparently new features, there is valid concern that the new pact may be going beyond the scope of previous military agreements. That contrary to the negotiators’ claims, this is not a mere implementing agreement of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement nor the periodic arrangements on mutual logistics and support. The AEDC as reported by media threatens to reverse the historic Senate vote that removed the US bases in 1991.
We are apprehensive that until now, no copy of the agreement has been provided to the public. Even Congress, particularly the Senate, has been kept in the dark. Only general statements and blanket assurances from Philippine and US officials that the AEDC will adhere to the Philippine Constitution have been issued. There is no official venue for public discussion and debate.
Just as we decry the lack of transparency in the crafting of the AEDC, so do we oppose the rush to have the deal signed in time for the Obama visit. We insist that such an agreement should undergo thorough and extensive deliberations by the Senate as well as wide-ranging public discussion
We call on our people to be vigilant, defend and uphold Philippine sovereignty, whether against China’s incursions or the United States of America’s increased military presence in Philippine territory.#
Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr.
Senator Rene Saguisag (MABINI)
Mother Mary John Mananzan, OSB
Dean Pacifico Agabin
Atty. Ricardo N. Fernandez
Atty. Hesiquio Mallilin
Atty. Fulgencio Factoran
Atty. Nelson Loyola
Atty. Harry Roque
Atty. Carlos Montemayor, Jr.
Prof. Roland Simbulan
Ms. Maria Socorro I. Diokno
Dr. Carol Araullo
Renato Constantino Jr.