Press Release
November 10, 2015

Resolution calls for Senate concurrence in treaties

The Senate today adopted a resolution expressing the strong sense of the Senate that any treaty ratified by the President should be concurred in by the Senate, otherwise the treaty would be deemed invalid and ineffective.

Senate Resolution No. 1414 was adopted with 15 affirmative votes, one negative vote by Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV and three abstention by Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Bam Aquino.

Senators who voted for the resolution are Miriam Defensor Santiago, Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Chiz Escudero, Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto.

Santiago, chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations and principal author of SBN 1414, said Senate concurrence is absolutely necessary for the validity and effectivity of any treaty, particularly those that promotes for foreign military bases, troops and facilities, such as the RP-EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement).

The EDCA treaty is presently the subject of a Supreme Court proceeding on the question of its validity and effectivity, considering that the Senate has not concurred with the treaty.

While the Office of the President had argued that the document was not a treaty but an executive agreement which does not require Senate concurrence, the resolution pointed out that the Constitution categorically stated that:

1. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate (Article 7, Section 12);

2. That after the expiration of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military bases in 1991, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and when Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State (Article 18, Section 25).

"It is hereby resolved by the Senate that the RP-US EDCA treaty requires Senate concurrence, in order to be valid and effective," the resolution said.

"Further, it is resolved that this resolution, expressing the strong sense of the Senate, be formally submitted to the Supreme Court through the Chief Justice," it added.

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