DoJ studies impact of VFA junking

January 27, 2020
Menardo Guevarra

THE Department of Justice yesterday widened its study into the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, with the so-called “preliminary impact assessment” now included. 

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra  said Malacañang  called for the widening of the study. 

According to Guevarra, the DOJ will now have to determine if the VFA’s discontinuation would affect other similar pacts like the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

“Yung sa legal side, madali lang. Yung impact assessment ang kailangan ng masusing pag-aaral. The timeframe depends on how soon the Cabinet cluster or the VFA Commission can convene,” he said. 

The Cabinet cluster is composed of Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Executive Secretary, and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Duterte’s “threat” to terminate VFA stemmed from the cancelation of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s United States visa.

Dela Rosa, a former chief of the Philippine National Police before he joined the Senate, is a staunch ally of the President. 

Dela Rosa last week disclosed that his U.S. visa had been canceled and was told he can re-apply to secure a visa again.

Recently, US President Donald Trump signed into law the US 2020 budget that included a provision banning jailers of Senator Leila de Lima from setting foot on American soil

De Lima, who is now detained at the PNP Custodial Center on charges of illegal drugs, earlier identified Filipino officials allegedly involved in her wrongful incarceration. 

She identified some of her jailers as President Duterte, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, online bloggers Mocha Uson, Sass Rogando Sasot, and RJ Nieto. 

De Lima also named the following former and incumbent officials: former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Public Attorney Office Chief Persida Acosta, Sandra Cam, Dante Jimenez, and Congressmen Rey Umali and Rudy Fariñas.