MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the United States.

Supreme Court, Philippines

Voting 10-4-1, the Supreme Court decision with regards to the legality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the United States declared constitutional.

Written by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, on Tuesday, January 12, the military deal signed by the Philippines and the United States in 2014 under the Aquino administration doesn’t need the concurrence of the Senate.

The high court said EDCA is an executive agreement, not a treaty and it remains consistent with existing laws and treaties….Therefore, we hereby dismiss the petition.”

10 magistrates voted to declare the PH-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) legal, while 4 voted to declare it illegal. SC spokesperson Theodore Te said.

Those who disagreed with the majority decision are Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Arturo Brion, Marvic Leonen, and Estela Perlas Bernabe while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza took no part and inhibited from the case.

Petitioners against Edca includes former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada and militant lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate.

According to the petitioners, the government violated several provisions of the Constitution, including the ban on foreign military bases and facilities without Senate concurrence.

The petitioners also cited the danger that EDCA might facilitate the entry of nuclear weapons into the Philippines, which is barred by the Constitution.

Philippine President Aquino with United States President Barack Obama

The EDCA has an initial term of 10 years and was signed last year April 28, 2015 in time for the state visit of US President Barack Obama’s four-nation Asian tour.

The agreement was signed between Philippines and the United States against the backdrop of the country’s maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), and America’s commitment to come to its ally’s defense in case this escalates. - Carl E.