Poe, Guingona want EDCA Ok 1st by Senate
By Mortz Ortigoza
SAN CARLOS CITY – Here is the number game the United States should look on the fate of the new military pact she has with the Philippines.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said he is not only in favour of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA ) but the Philippine government must chalked up from the Americans a more unequivocal and strong military agreement in case of a Mainland Chinese attacked to the country.
The Philippines has one of the poorest equipped military in South East Asia.
“Gusto ko rin maiklaro na sa mga lugar na may dispute especially with China, automatic na dapat, kasi ng bumisita si President Obama sa Japan klaro niyang sinabi na pagka kinalaban, ang America ay papasok at lalaban. Sa atin generic ang sinabi. We will defend the Philippine ayaw na very specific. Samantala, meron tayong Mutual Defense Treaty. So, ako ay naniniwala na puwede pang i-strengthen at pagandahin ang EDCA at maging transparent (I want the treaty to be clear with the Americans in case of a dispute with China that military help from the U.S would be automatic.When President (Barack) Obama visited Japan he made it clear that if another country militarily engaged Japan the Americans would come to her succor. In our treaty with the Americans, what we signed there was generic not specific. So I believe that we can strengthen EDCA to become transparent),” Cayetano stressed.
He cited that other U.S allies around the world have exacted strong military cooperation than what the Philippines got from the U.S.
At the forthcoming decision of the Supreme Court on the petition of the unconstitutionality of EDCA, he said he did not want to speculate but will wait for the High Court to decide anytime on the petition of Harry Roque, Former Senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tanada, et al.
It can be recalled that EDCA was hammered by the country’s executive department and the Americans and approved by the former instead of the Senate that should ratify it as based on the Constitution.
Meanwhile, two Philippine senators told Northern Watch their positions on EDCA.
Senator Mary Grace Poe said she wanted that the Senate should be given the right to ratify the agreement while Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. said the government should follow the Constitution.
Poe said it was important to have military security brought by EDCA in the country but the Senate should review it first before it could be implemented.
“The Senate needs to review EDCA. It is part of the work and responsibility of the Senate. It should determine if it is needed. Do we need EDCA, or EDCA an addition to the previous pacts with the Americans?” she told Northern Watch in Calasiao, Pangasinan last December.
Guingona likened EDCA to a foreign military base or visiting forces agreement that should follow the requirements of the Constitution.
When asked if he would vote for EDCA, he gave a vague answer.
“Ahh, I don’t think, I don’t think so because it is like a visiting forces agreement. It is a base agreement, aah, aah. It has to follow the requirements of the constitution,” he told this paper when he barnstorm Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan last month.
Guingona runs for his reelection in the Senate in the May 9 national election. Poe and Cayetano run for the the presidency and vice presidency in the same election.