Duterte to get DoJ study on VFA today

January 26, 2020
Rodrigo Duterte

The Justice Department will submit today to President 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 Mr. 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 wisdon 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 read the memorandum containing the result.

Mr. Duterte’s ‘threat’ to terminate VFA stemmed following 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

A provision on “Prohibition on Entry” bared that the US Secretary of State “shall apply subsection (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of... de Lima who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”

Likewise, the provision, an amendment in the 2020 State and foreign operations appropriations bill, banned government officials from Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia over the “wrongful detention” of American citizens or staff of a US diplomatic mission.

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.
US Senators Richard Durbin (Illinois) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont) sought the amendment on the 2020 state and foreign operations appropriations bill.

It was approved by the Senate appropriations committee and House of Representatives and was included in the final 2020 appropriations bill.

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