It’s final: EDCA is constitutional

  • Supreme Court junked EDCA opponents’ Motion for Reconsideration
  • It said their arguments were just rehashed from their previous contentions
  • Palace and AFP hailed the ruling, said EDCA can finally be implemented

MANILA, Philippines – It’s final: the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is constitutional.

Ruling with finality, the Supreme Court en banc voted 9-4 to junk the EDCA opponents’ Motion for Reconsideration after finding that their arguments were essentially rehashed versions of their previous contentions.

“Peititioners do not present new arguments to buttress their claims of error on the part of this Court,” the high tribunal said. “They have rehashed their prior arguments and made them responsive to the structure of the Decision in Saguisag, yet the points being made are the same.”

The four magistrates who voted in favor of petitioners were Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Arturo Brion, Estella Perlas Bernabe and Marvic Leonen. SC spokesman Theodore Te said their dissenting opinions would be released soon.

Two of the justices inhibited themselves from the case.

In its first ruling, the Supreme Court held that the EDCA did not need the concurrence of the Senate since it was only an Executive Order (EO) to fulfill an already existing treaty between the Philippines and the United States — the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Praising the decision, both Malacañang Palace and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would now pave the way for the increased upgrade of the country’s armed forces.

“The Supreme Court’s decision upholding EDCA’s legality hopes to increase the interoperability of our armed forces and contribute to its modernization.  We likewise remain confident that through this military cooperation we would improve our joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told GMA News.

“Finally, all qualms and doubts on the Edca can be laid to rest, and discussions of its full implementation can be done confident in the thought that there are no longer any legal impediments,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.”