DoJ wraps up study on VFA termination

January 26, 2020

THE Justice Department will submit today to President Rodrigo Duterte the result of its study on the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Unites States 

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed this over the weekend, several days after Duterte tasked the DOJ to “start” the termination process. 

“I’m done with the study on the procedure for terminating the VFA but I have to submit first my memo to PRRD [Duterte] on Monday,” Guevarra said.

However, Guevarra stressed that the DOJ’s study tackled the termination process alone, not the wisdom of the executive action to terminate the VFA. 

“We shall answer such questions as: Is the VFA a treaty or an executive agreement? If it’s a treaty, is Senate concurrence required for termination? Who will give the notice of termination? Is it necessary to state any ground for termination?” he stressed. 

Guevarra refused to reveal the result of the DOJ’s study until the President has read the memorandum containing the result.

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 on Wednesday 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 has 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. 

De Lima 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.