Press Release
February 10, 2020

Statement of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon


I will wait for the announcement of the President. If the President directs the termination of the VFA, a Senate review of the agreement is a waste of time.

Without the VFA, EDCA cannot stand legally. EDCA is an Executive Agreement. The legality of EDCA is drawn principally from the VFA. The Supreme Court in 2016 upheld the legality of EDCA because the US and the Philippines have an existing treaty that is already concurred into by the Senate, which was the VFA. Specifically, the Supreme Court, in Saguisag v. Executive Secretary, ruled, "EDCA seeks to be an instrument that enumerates the Philippine-approved activities of U.S. personnel referred to in the VFA."

Now if you terminate the VFA, EDCA is dead. Without the EDCA, MDT is rendered inutile. I agree with Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin that without the VFA and EDCA, MDT "is just a piece of paper."

To me, the termination of the VFA is a death sentence to long-standing Philippines and United States defense alliance.

This is because the presence of US personnel, vessels and aircrafts in the Philippines is allowed by virtue of the VFA. If and when the VFA is terminated, the US is likely to terminate ongoing activities by its troops and personnel in the country and halt information, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

The pullout of US rotating troops and military equipment out of the country will leave some parts of the country vulnerable (Mindanao, Sulu and the West Philippine Sea).

On Quo Warranto vs ABS-CBN

I do not know what the SolGen wants to achieve in filing a quo warranto case against ABS-CBN. The franchise of ABS-CBN will expire on March 30. Hence, a quo warranto becomes moot by then if Congress does not act on extension.

If between now and March, Congress decides to hear the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN- all these issues raised by SolGen Calida in his quo warranto petition can be taken up during the hearing.

On the DOJ filing of a case vs Sen. Trillanes, et. al.

My understanding of the crime of conspiracy is that it is committed when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. The parties, in agreement, must have made up their minds to commit the crime, and must have intended to bring about or achieve a common objective.

I am very interested to find out how the prosecution panel was able to resolve that Trillanes et. al., plotted to commit sedition, considering that the crime of conspiracy deals with the state of mind of the defendants, and especially given the fact that the information was solely based on the testimony of one person.

It is incumbent on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Trillanes et. al., unified by the common design and purpose, agreed to rise publicly and tumultuously, through the use of force, intimidation or other illegal means, to attain the ends of sedition enumerated under the Revised Penal Code.

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