On March 14, 1947, the Philippines (RP) and the United States of America (US)
forged a Military Bases Agreement which formalized the use of installations in the
Philippine territory by United States military personnel.
The RP-US Military Bases Agreement expired in 1991 without having been
renewed. Notwithstanding, the defense and security relationship between the Philippines
and the US continued pursuant to a Mutual Defense Treaty entered into on August 30,
In 1997, negotiations began between the RP and US for a Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA). President Ramos approved the VFA, which was respectively signed
by Foreign Affairs Secretary Siazon and US Ambassador Thomas Hubbard on February
10, 1998.
Subsequently, President Estrada ratified the VFA and officially transmitted to the
Senate of the Philippines the Instrument of Ratification for concurrence pursuant to
Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. The Senate, in turn, referred the VFA to
its Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on National Defense and Security for
joint hearing.
Thereafter, Senate Resolution No. 443 was approved by the Senate by a twothirds (2/3) vote of its members. It became re-numbered as Senate Resolution No. 18.
On June 1, 1999, the VFA officially entered into force after an Exchange of Notes
between Foreign Affairs Secretary Siazon and US Ambassador Hubbard.

Is the VFA governed by the provisions of Section 21, Article VII or of
Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution?

Article XVIII is applicable considering that the VFA has for its subject the presence of foreign military troops in the Philippines o o "After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases." Refers to international agreements IN GENERAL Ruling of the court:  Both constitutional provisions share the same ground. no distinction is made on permanent and transient  May cover only one: foreign bases. or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the senate and. ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose. Applicable Constitutional Provision Petitioner’s argument:  Section 25. the concurrence of the senate is needed to comply with the constitutional requirements. and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State. when the Congress so requires.Petitions were DISMISSED.  Section 25 should apply because it specifically deals with treaties involving military bases  Lex specialis derogat generali. foreign military bases. special provisions or laws prevail over general ones  Military bases need not be permanent. foreign troops or foreign facilities . Article VII should apply inasmuch as the VFA is not a basing arrangement but an agreement which involves merely the temporary visits of United States personnel engaged in joint military exercises o o "No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate. troops or facilities in the Philippines Respondent’s argument:  Section 21." SPECIAL PROVISION that applies to treaties which involve the presence of foreign military bases. troops. In both instances.

as long as the VFA possesses the elements of an agreement under international law. which is equivalent to final acceptance. it now becomes obligatory and incumbent on our part. With the ratification of the VFA. ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum.Whether or not the requirements of Section 25 were complied with when the Senate gave its concurrence to the VFA  Requisites: o (a) it must be under a treaty. there is indeed marked compliance with the mandate of the Constitution. has stated that the United States government has fully committed to living up to the terms of the VFA. the said agreement is to be taken equally as a treaty. (Article II Section 2) . Hubbard. and with the exchange of notes between the Philippines and the United States of America. o (b) the treaty must be duly concurred in by the Senate and. under international law. o The records reveal that the United States Government. when so required by congress. an executive agreement is as binding as a treaty. and binds itself further to comply with its obligations under the treaty. through Ambassador Thomas C. and o (c) recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state. o It is inconsequential whether the United States treats the VFA only as an executive agreement because. to be bound by the terms of the agreement. For as long as the United States of America accepts or acknowledges the VFA as a treaty. To be sure.  A and B are present  With regard to C: o This Court is of the firm view that the phrase "recognized as a treaty" means that the other contracting party accepts or acknowledges the agreement as a treaty. under the principles of international law.

the Philippines agrees to be bound by generally accepted rules for the conduct of its international relations. . we cannot invoke that the Constitution as a convenient excuse for non-compliance with our duties and responsibilities under international law.As a member of the family of nations. The state is responsible for assuring compliance with this international law by every branch and subdivision.

Two petitions for certiorari were thereafter filed before us assailing the constitutionality of EDCA. in June 2014. After eight rounds of negotiations. According to the Philippine government.S. not an executive agreement. the Secretary of National Defense and the U. the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the U. The OSG clarified during the oral arguments[90] that the Philippine and the U. EXEC. President Benigno S. for which purpose he may use that power in the conduct of foreign relations Statutory construction: verba legis – “ordinary meaning of the terms” .S. or facilities Whether the provisions under EDCA are consistent with the Constitution.S. troops. governments had yet to agree formally on the specific sites of the Agreed Locations mentioned in the agreement. They primarily argue that it should have been in the form of a treaty concurred in by the Senate. Ambassador to the Philippines signed the agreement on 28 April 2014.SAGUISAG vs. FACTS: EDCA authorizes the U. SEC The petitions before this Court question the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America. It was not transmitted to the Senate on the executive's understanding that to do so was no longer necessary.S. as well as with existing laws and treaties HELD: The role of the President as the executor of the law includes the duty to defend the State. Embassy exchanged diplomatic notes confirming the completion of all necessary internal requirements for the agreement to enter into force in the two countries. Aquino III ratified EDCA on 6 June 2014. ISSUES: Whether the President may enter into an executive agreement on foreign military bases. military forces to have access to and conduct activities within certain "Agreed Locations" in the country. Accordingly. the conclusion of EDCA was the result of intensive and comprehensive negotiations in the course of almost two years.

or (3) in the exercise of the President's independent powers under the Constitution. troops. and framework of the MDT and the VFA . executive agreements must remain traceable to an express or implied authorization under the Constitution. The President may generally enter into executive agreements subject to limitations defined by the Constitution and may be in furtherance of a treaty already concurred in by the Senate. considered superior to executive agreements. however. The OSG emphasizes that EDCA can be in the form of an executive agreement. the subsequent acts are thereafter subject only to the limitations provided by the rest of the Constitution and Philippine law. troops. or treaties. or facilities. and not to the Section 25 requirement of validity through a treaty. or (b) it merely aims to implement an existing law or treaty. if (a) it is not the instrument that allows the presence of foreign military bases. purpose. treaties are. EDCA is consistent with the content. by their very nature. or facilities.  There remain two very important features that distinguish treaties from executive agreements and translate them into terms of art in the domestic setting. troops. Once entry is authorized. since it merely involves "adjustments in detail" in the implementation of the MDT and the VFA. (2) pursuant to or upon confirmation by an act of the Legislature. o Second.The President. may enter into an executive agreement on foreign military bases. or facilities. It is evident that the constitutional restriction refers solely to the initial entry of the foreign military bases. statutes. o First.  Executive agreements – They are concluded (1) to adjust the details of a treaty.

purpose. . mere adjustments in detail to implement the MDT and the VFA can be in the form of executive agreements. we find that EDCA has remained within the parameters set in these two treaties.After a thorough examination of the content. Just like the Terms of Reference mentioned in Lim. and framework of the MDT and the VFA.