1987 Philippine Constitution Same; Same; Same; Comfort Women; The question whether the Philippine

government should espouse claims of its nationals against a foreign
Art. II, Sec. 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of
government is a foreign relations matter, the authority for which is
national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international
demonstrably committed by our Constitution not to the courts but to the
law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace,
political branches; In this case, the Executive De partment has already
equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.
decided that it is to the best interest of the country to waive all claims of its
nationals for reparations against Japan in the Treaty of Peace of 1951.—To
Art. VII, Sec. 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and be sure, not all cases implicating foreign relations present political
effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of questions, and courts certainly possess the authority to construe or
the Senate. invalidate treaties and executive agreements. However, the question
whether the Philippine government should espouse claims of its nationals
against a foreign government is a foreign relations matter, the authority
VINUYA v. ROMULO for which is demonstrably committed by our Constitution not to the courts
but to the political branches. In this case, the Executive Department has
G.R. No. 162230, April 28, 2010 already decided that it is to the best interest of the country to waive all
claims of its nationals for reparations against Japan in the Treaty of Peace
of 1951. The wisdom of such decision is not for the courts to question.
Neither could petitioners herein assail the said determination by the
Syllabus:
Executive Department via the instant petition for certiorari.
Same; Same; International Law; Foreign Relations; Certain types of cases
Same; Same; Same; Presidency; The US Supreme Court held that “[t]he
often have been found to present political questions. One such category
President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole
involves questions of foreign relations. It is wellestablished that “[t]he
representative with foreign relations.”—In the seminal case of US v.
conduct of the foreign relations of our government is committed by the
CurtissWright Export Corp., the US Supreme Court held that “[t]he
Constitution to the executive and legislative—‘the political’—departments of
President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its
the government, and the propriety of what may be done in the exercise of
sole representative with foreign relations.”
this political power is not subject to judicial inquiry or decision.”—Certain
types of cases often have been found to present political questions. One Same; Same; Same; Same; Comfort Women; The Executive Department has
such category involves questions of foreign relations. It is wellestablished determined that taking up petitioners’ cause would be inimical to our
that “[t]he conduct of the foreign relations of our government is committed country’s foreign policy interests, and could disrupt our relations with
by the Constitution to the executive and legislative—‘the political’— Japan, thereby creating serious implications for stability in this region.—
departments of the government, and the propriety of what may be done in The Executive Department has determined that taking up petitioners’
the exercise of this political power is not subject to judicial inquiry or cause would be inimical to our country’s foreign policy interests, and could
decision.” The US Supreme Court has further cautioned that decisions disrupt our relations with Japan, thereby creating serious implications for
relating to foreign policy are delicate, complex, and involve large elements stability in this region. For us to overturn the Executive Department’s
of prophecy. They are and should be undertaken only by those directly determination would mean an assessment of the foreign policy judgments
responsible to the people whose welfare they advance or imperil. They are by a coordinate political branch to which authority to make that judgment
decisions of a kind for which the Judiciary has neither aptitude, facilities has been constitutionally committed.
nor responsibility.” Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Not infrequently in affairs between

Because of states’ reluctance to directly government of another country are “sources of friction” between the two prosecute claims against another state. Same. the state’s own rights. but peremptory norms began to attract greater scholarly whether its protection will be granted. Even then. Foreign Affairs and the Same. traditionally. sexual writer puts it. considered peremptory in the sense that they are mandatory. Same. individual is able to persuade a government to bring a claim on the “compelling law”) refers to norms that command peremptory authority. Henkin. an applicable treaty regime. and equivalent authority. As one treatise perpetrators of international crimes. and sexual violence are morally reprehensible as well as state against the government of another “are established international legally prohibited under contemporary international law. Same. traditional international theory. to everyone) in international law has been used as a legal term describing the only means available for individuals to bring a claim within the obligations owed by States towards the community of states as a whole. practice reflecting traditional international theory.nations. is the sole judge to decide since the 1700s. to what extent it is granted. Same. in this respect. traditionally.—The State. the consent of states. Indeed. Same. and can be modified only by general international norms of whether its protection will be granted. Early strains of the jus cogens doctrine have existed when will it cease. “compelling law”) refers to international sphere. Same. recent developments support the sovereigns. Same. 552. torture. international prosecute claims against another state. To resolve these difficulties.” —This practice of petitioners take quite a theoretical leap in claiming that these settling claims by means of a peace treaty is certainly nothing new. individual’s behalf. one country against the government of another country are “sources of but seek to recover monetary reparations from the state of Japan.—In the international law.” L. It retains. Same. Jus Cogens. In the international sphere. it is not the individual’s rights that are superseding conflicting treaties and custom. Same. Same. outstanding claims by nationals of petitioners do not demand the imputation of individual criminal liability. international legal system has been when the individual is able to persuade Same. international agreements settling claims by nationals of one slavery. Pink. the United States term erga omnes (Latin: in relation to everyone) in international law has has repeatedly exercised its sovereign authority to settle the claims of its been used as a legal term describing obligations owed by States towards the nationals against foreign countries. unrelated to the particular case.Ed. community of states as a whole. but rather. Words and Phrases. precisely because of states’ reluctance to directly respective nationals. do not admit Same. The recognition of jus exercise of which may be determined by considerations of a political or cogens gained even more force in the 1950s and 1960s with the ILC’s other nature. Same. Same. 86 L. nations have often entered into modern trend to empower individuals to directly participate in suits against agreements settling the claims of their respective nationals. the only means available for individuals norms that command peremptory authority. United States v. there is no nonderogable duty to institute proceedings nations have often entered into agreements settling the claims of their against Japan. in Dames & Moore v. Same. Forbidden Treaties in International Law. To resolve these difficulties. or a directive by the 225. However. outstanding claims by nationals of one country against the Same. 62 S. As one treatise writer puts it. Words and Phrases. Same. therefore. superseding conflicting treaties to bring a claim within the international legal system has been when the and custom. Same. Consistent with that principle.— We fully agree that rape. Jus cogens norms are being asserted. . the term “jus cogens” (literally. Security Council. the US Supreme Court held: Not derogable obligation to prosecute international crimes.Ct. The Constitution 262 (1972). and attention with the publication of Alfred von Verdross’s influential 1937 when will it cease. 315 U.—The term erga omnes (Latin: in relation Same. Same. Erga Omnes. the term “jus cogens” (literally. particularly since infrequently in affairs between nations. Same. Same. Regan. a discretionary power the article. recent developments support the agreements settling claims by nationals of one state against the modern trend to empower individuals to directly participate in suits government of another “are established international practice reflecting against perpetrators of international crimes. Absent friction” between the two sovereigns. preparation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT).—In international law. In a government to bring a claim on the individual’s behalf. Same. For proscriptions automatically imply that that the Philippines is under a non instance. Same.S. 203. 563. The State is the sole judge to decide derogation. 796 (1942). to what extent it is granted.

the Secretary of the DOJ. and involve . complex. Political questions refer “to those questions which. 1997. 1951 and the bilateral Reparations Agreement of 1956. But officials of the Executive Department declined to assist Petition lacks merit. FACTS: On January 15. this petition where petitioners pray for this court to (a) declare that which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or respondents committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or executive branch of the government. and took the position that the individual claims of the Department has the exclusive prerogative to determine whether to espouse comfort women for compensation had already been fully satisfied by petitioners’ claims against Japan. the ISSUE: Secretary of the DFA. non. and the OSG. requesting assistance in filing a claim against the Japanese officials and military officers who RULING: ordered the establishment of the “comfort women” stations in the Philippines. these were implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and This is an original Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Development. the Asian Women’s Fund and the Philippine government signed a Memorandum of Understanding for medical and welfare support programs for former comfort women. the ILC was unable to reach a consensus relative to the war were dealt with in the San Francisco Peace Treaty of on the proper criteria for identifying peremptory norms. DFA. From a Domestic Law Perspective. and (b) compel the respondents to espouse their claims for official apology and other forms One type of case of political questions involves questions of foreign of reparations against Japan before the International Court of Justice relations. a non-stock. and OSG.” against humanity and war crimes committed against them.” are delicate. providing aid to the victims of rape by Japanese military forces in the Philippines during the Second World War. our government is committed by the Constitution to the executive and legislative–‘the political’–departments of the government.Though there was a consensus that certain international norms had Respondents maintain that all claims of the Philippines and its nationals attained the status of jus cogens. they have approached the Executive Department through the DOJ. Petitioners claim that since 1998. not espousing petitioners’ claims for official apology and other forms of profit organization registered with the SEC. established for the purpose of reparations against Japan. Over the next five years. It is concerned with issues dependent excess of discretion in refusing to espouse their claims for the crimes upon the wisdom. are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity. under the Constitution. Japan’s compliance with the Peace Treaty between the Philippines and Japan. not legality of a particular measure. It is well-established that “the conduct of the foreign relations of (ICJ) and other international tribunals. WON the Executive Department committed grave abuse of discretion in Petitioners are all members of the MALAYA LOLAS. Court with an application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction against the Office of the Executive Secretary. and the propriety of what may be done in the exercise of this political power is not subject to judicial inquiry or decision. or in regard to Hence. the Executive the petitioners.

In view of the importance of the rights involved. and decide on that basis if apologies The term “jus cogens” (literally. from the standpoint of both the interests of the petitioners and those of the Republic. claim against Japan. They are and should be undertaken only by when the individual is able to persuade a government to bring a claim on those directly responsible to the people whose welfare they advance or the individual’s behalf. Jus cogens norms are considered peremptory in the sense that In the international sphere. For the to overturn the Executive Department’s The term erga omnes (Latin: in relation to everyone) in international law determination would mean an assessment of the foreign policy judgments has been used as a legal term describing obligations owed by States by a coordinate political branch to which authority to make that judgment towards the community of states as a whole. if means are available. traditionally. command peremptory authority. consular and other officials. Petitioners have not shown that the crimes agents in the form of diplomatic. Should the natural or demonstrably committed by our Constitution not to the courts but to the legal person on whose behalf it is acting consider that their rights are not political branches. with a view to its nationals for reparations against Japan in the Treaty of Peace of 1951. As a general field of diplomatic protection. of its subjects. has the better opportunity of knowing the conditions which prevail in foreign countries. furthering their cause or obtaining redress. However. The President. and whether further steps are appropriate or necessary. or that the duty to prosecute The Executive Department has determined that taking up petitioners’ perpetrators of international crimes is an erga omnes obligation or has cause would be inimical to our country’s foreign policy interests. and especially is this true in Even the invocation of jus cogens norms and erga omnes obligations will time of war. the question whether the Philippine Within the limits prescribed by international law. and courts certainly possess the authority to construe or invalidate treaties and executive agreements. and those arising vis-à-vis another State in the From a municipal law perspective. all the treaty’s conclusion and our consideration – the Executive must be given States can be held to have a legal interest in their protection. do not admit derogation. and could attained the status of jus cogens. a State may exercise government should espouse claims of its nationals against a foreign diplomatic protection by whatever means and to whatever extent it thinks government is a foreign relations matter.large elements of prophecy. By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by imperil. disrupt our relations with Japan. thereby creating serious implications for stability in this region. within the province of municipal law and do not affect the position internationally. in the person But not all cases implicating foreign relations present political questions. they are ample discretion to assess the foreign policy considerations of espousing a obligations erga omnes. All they decided that it is to the best interest of the country to waive all claims of can do is resort to national law. By their very nature. In this case. be drawn between the obligations of a State towards the international community as a whole. the Executive Department has already adequately protected. certiorari will not lie. not Congress. the former are the principle. where such an extraordinary length of time has lapsed between concern of all States. He has his confidential sources of information. All these questions remain The wisdom of such decision is not for the courts to question. a State is in reality asserting its own right to ensure. Essential distinction should has been constitutionally committed. He has his not alter this analysis. committed by the Japanese army violated jus cogens prohibitions at the time the Treaty of Peace was signed. the authority for which is fit. for it is its own right that the State is asserting. respect for the rules of international law. they have no remedy in international law. “compelling law”) refers to norms that are sufficient. superseding conflicting treaties and custom. and can be modified only by individuals to bring a claim within the international legal system has been general international norms of equivalent authority . the only means available for they are mandatory. resorting to diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on his behalf.

troops. 462 SCRA 622 (2005). Indeed. government would be “allowed” or would “gain entry” Philippine territory. This . The President is not authorized by law to allow foreign interest is involved. 2016 executive agreements and executive orders. the people in a national referendum held for that purpose. foreign military bases. Section 25. These functions include the faithful execution of the law in SAGUISAG v. the Petition is hereby DISMISSED. this Court has indeed taken a liberal stance as a treaty by the other contracting State. especially when paramount Same. OCHOA autonomous regions. After the concurrence in a treaty entered into by the Executive Department. and recognized —In a number of cases. Jr. troops. Constitutional Law.—The duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land is inherent in executive power and is intimately related to the other executive functions. this the entry of foreign military bases. In 1987 Constitution expressly limits his ability in instances when it involves Pimentel. inevitably leads to the conclusion that it applies may do so in spite of the inability of the petitioners to show that they have only to a proposed agreement between our government and a foreign been personally injured by the operation of a law or any other government government. the power to concur in a entry of foreign military bases. Executive Power. When those who challenge the official act are able to Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and. inherent in executive power and is intimately related to the other executive functions. the treaty concurred in by the Senate. only expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the then incumbent Senator Pimentel was allowed to assert that authority of Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases. the Supreme when the Congress so requires. Treaties. The power to Same. or facilities of such foreign act. Presidency. Judicial Review. except under a able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people. GR 212426 Jan 12. troops or facilities. v. whereby military bases. the right to prosecute crimes. or facilities shall not be allowed in the Same. It Article XIII. or facilities to enter the Philippines. ratified by a majority of the votes cast by Court (SC) may exercise its sound discretion and take cognizance of the suit. the authority to deport undesirable aliens.—To this Court. not to the entire Constitution expressly limits his ability in instances when it involves the Legislature. the conferment of national awards under the Syllabus: President’s jurisdiction. The initial Court did not recognize the standing of one of the petitioners therein who limitation is found in Section 21 of the provisions on the Executive was a member of the House of Representatives. Foreign Military Bases. a plain textual reading of Court may exercise its sound discretion and take cognizance of the suit. Same. the full text of which reads as follows: SECTION 25. The petition in that case Department: “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and sought to compel the transmission to the Senate for concurrence of the effective unless concurred in by at least two thirds of all the Members of signed text of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. not to the entire Legislature. and the overall administration and control of the executive department. Office of the Executive Secretary. Since that the Senate. the 1987 prerogative granted by the Constitution to the Senate. the implementation of transportation projects.” The specific limitation is given by Section 25 of the Transitory petition invoked the power of the Senate to grant or withhold its Provisions. Power to Concur in a Treaty. the granted by the Constitution to the Senate.WHEREFORE. troops. the duty to ensure compliance with treaties. Same. towards the requirement of legal standing. The duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land is Note that the provision “shall not be allowed” is a negative injunction. troops or facilities.—Despite the President’s treaty or an international agreement is an institutional prerogative roles as defender of the State and sole authority in foreign relations. when those who challenge the official act are military bases. craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people. Despite the President’s roles as concur in a treaty or an international agreement is an institutional defender of the State and sole authority in foreign relations. the Senate of which he was a member.—As correctly argued by respondent.

final to express the objective it seeks to attain. presidential decree. tourism and other economic relations. troops. As previously discussed. wellestablished national policies and traditions and those involving Once entry is authorized. Article VIII of the Constitution. be understood when the fundamental law was ordained and promulgated. As expressed below. or facilities. modify. revise. Article VII.—It is are defined as “international agreements embodying adjustments of detail evident that the constitutional restriction refers solely to the initial entry carrying out wellestablished national policies and traditions and those of the foreign military bases. Being the principal representative of the Philippines. effectivity are not affected by a lack of Senate concurrence. the Constitution and understood by the people in the way it was meant to Executive Agreements.wording signifies that the President is not authorized by law to allow investments. Eastern Sea Trading. or the verba legis power of judicial review: (2) Review. It is presumed that the framers and the people meant what executive agreement. Eastern Sea Trading. Eastern Sea Trading. and that a proviso is no longer needed. —Under the principles of check on its exercise. Words and Phrases. or affirm rule. In Commissioner of Customs v. does not include Chief Executive speaks and listens for the nation. scopes and purposes. executive agreements are among constitutional construction. including the prerogative to conclude binding executive agreements that do not require further Senate concurrence. the agreements” as contemplated in Section 21. or regulation is in question. the Constitutional power to conduct and manage the country’s interface with other states and Commission members ultimately decided that the term “international governments. or facilities to enter the Philippines. as the law or the Rules of Court may provide. troops. The President has the inherent power to enter into agreements Sea Trading. reverse. to enter into agreements with other states. and that this understanding was reflected in instruction. The existence of this presidential power is so wellentrenched Verba Legis. the constitutionally constitutional mandate emanates from the inherent power of the President restricted authority pertains to the entry of the bases. maintains. of paramount consideration is the plain those official governmental acts that can be the subject of this Court’s meaning of the language expressed in the Constitution. Customs v. 3 SCRA 351 (1961). and settles foreign military bases. the President is vested with the exclusive Customs v. troops. except international disputes with other states. this Court further clarified that by the rest of the Constitution and Philippine law. Romulo. promotes trade. distinguishing features of executive agreements is that their validity and negotiates and enters into international agreements.”—In Commissioner of the limitations provided by the rest of the Constitution and Philippine law. initiates. After noted constitutionalist Fr. It is evident that the constitutional restriction refers as “international agreements embodying adjustments of detail carrying out solely to the initial entry of the foreign military bases. 641 SCRA 244 (2011). Once entry is authorized. with other states. They are no longer limited to the traditional subjects that are usually covered by executive agreements as identified in Eastern Presidency.” In Bayan the subsequent acts are thereafter subject only to the limitations provided Muna v. or the verba legis rule.—One of the develops diplomatic relations with other states and governments. This distinctive . ordinance. proclamation. Joaquin organ of our foreign relations and the constitutionally assigned chief Bernas quoted the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) ruling in Commissioner of architect of our foreign policy. It is presumed that the provisions have been carefully crafted in order on appeal or certiorari. order. executive agreements and not to the Section 25 requirement of validity through a treaty. 3 SCRA 351 (1961). International Agreements. Hence. or facilities. this under a treaty concurred in by the Senate. the subsequent acts are thereafter subject only to arrangements of a more or less temporary nature. 3 SCRA 351 (1961). and not to the Section executive agreements can cover a wide array of subjects that have various 25 requirement of validity through a treaty. or facilities. and executive agreements. executive agreements are defined Foreign Military Bases. international or Constitution.—As the sole Same. of that Section 5(2)(a). involving arrangements of a more or less temporary nature. law. It is incumbent upon the Court judgments and orders of lower courts in: (a) All cases in which the to refrain from going beyond the plain meaning of the words used in the constitutionality or validity of any treaty. troops. Under the principles of constitutional construction. they said when they said it. including the prerogative to and not to the activities to be done after entry. conclude binding executive agreements that do not require further Senate concurrence. even provides for a paramount consideration is the plain meaning of the language expressed in the Constitution.

protocol.” Accordingly. ranging from the traditional notion of a treaty identify the locations in which U. .— The special nature of an executive agreement is under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). simplified forms that no longer military and civilian personnel in Philippine territory are already allowed necessitate ratification. thus. exchange of notes. 459.S. solemn instrument — to Forces Agreement. convention. Same. determine whether the international agreement is consistent with the applicable limitations. Romulo. does not include executive to the President in the field of foreign affairs. patent rights.—The admission and presence of U. in Eastern Sea Trading. concluded in modern. ranging from the traditional Foreign Military Bases. As the implementing agreement.feature was recognized as early as in Eastern Sea Trading (1961). is merely provide the mechanism to international agreements.S. 459. thus. memorandum of agreement. International implemented by Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). approval of twothirds of the Senate. cited earlier. From the agreement is an executive agreement or a treaty. International practice has accepted the use of various forms and designations of international agreements. postal restrictions under the Constitution. the treaty supposedly being implemented act.) engagements concluded in modern. correctly reflected the inherent powers of the President general term “international agreement” included executive agreements. concordat. simplified forms that no longer necessitate military and civilian personnel in Philippine territory are already ratification. allowed under the VFA. in view of the vast constitutional powers and prerogatives granted contemplated in Section 21. Joaquin Bernas quoted the Court’s ruling agreement should be in the form of a treaty or an executive agreement. declaration. viz. subject only to the least amount of checks and nation rights. the task of the Court is to agreements. In fact. compromis d’arbitrage. Section 9 of Executive Order (EO) No. The validity discretion was recognized by the Court in Vinuya v. modus vivendi. Section 9 of Executive Order No. (2010). personnel may perform allowed — which connotes a formal. pact. the Constitutional Commission members save in cases in which the Constitution or a statute requires otherwise. statute. when it stated that the DFA “shall determine whether an agreement is an and whether it was necessary to include an express proviso that would executive agreement or a treaty. solemn instrument — to engagements activities pursuant to the VFA. is merely provide the covenant. judicial review. correctly Senate or by Congress. in the field of earliest days of our history we have entered into executive agreements external affairs. the distinction between a treaty regulates and limits the presence of U. The admission and presence of United States (U. or the Guidelines in the binding through executive action without the need of a vote by the Negotiation of International Agreements and its Ratification. allowed activities pursuant to the VFA.”—Indeed. 619 SCRA 533 of these has never been seriously questioned by our courts. in fact. What EDCA has effectively done. The rationale behind this power and and navigation arrangements and the settlement of claims.: and an international agreement or even an executive agreement is Treaties are formal documents which require ratification with the irrelevant for purposes of determining international rights and obligations. it Consequently. x x x x [T]he right of the Executive to enter reflected the inherent powers of the President when it stated that the into binding agreements without the necessity of subsequent Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) “shall determine whether an Congressional approval has been confirmed by long usage. mostfavored. the framers specifically deliberated on whether the Ratification. in fact. Article VII. Visiting notion of a treaty — which connotes a formal.S. or some other form. What practice has accepted the use of various forms and designations of EDCA has effectively done. Same. the President must be given a larger measure of authority covering such subjects as commercial and consular relations. An international agreement may take different forms: treaty. agreed mechanism to identify the locations in which U. charter. ultimately decided that the term “international agreements” as Rather. or the (Emphases supplied) That notion was carried over to the present Guidelines in the Negotiation of International Agreements and its Constitution. under international law. Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. trademark and copyright protection. Executive agreements become Same.S. agreement. and that a proviso is no longer needed.S. and wider discretion. the Court does not look into whether an international After noted constitutionalist Fr. the treaty supposedly being not just a domestic variation in international agreements. personnel may perform minute. personnel in the country. by EDCA. in the exercise of its power of exclude executive agreements from the requirement of Senate concurrence.

—EDCA requires that all activities within admission into the Philippines. personnel may be “dispos[ed] x x x Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Until and unless there is another law necessitated by national security. which proposes a novel concept termed outside of the Philippines. The President may also deny them entry and treaties applicable within the Philippine territory. Article 111(5) of the Visiting presence in the country is subject to unqualified Philippine jurisdiction. Same. Article 111(5) of the VFA and use pursuant to this Agreement. the Executive Department has already out U. public safety. The latter must comply with our visa and passport regulations and contractors are explicitly excluded from the coverage of the VFA. contractors as may be novel concept termed “Agreed Locations. and the authority to conduct certain activities already address issues regarding the regulation of contractors. Agreed Locations necessitated by national security. respondent Philippines. contractors as may be therefore limit their activities here. contractors into the country. presence.S. their entry.” By definition.—Nowhere in EDCA are U.—We emphasize that U.S.) contractors guaranteed immediate to foreign military contractors. public or treaty that specifically deals with their entry and activities.S. Same. public safety. and others as mutually agreed. and admission into the Philippines. which regulates contracts for the construction of defense U. U. and activities are subject to all laws Philippine immigration laws. and national interest. aliens into Philippine territory is “a matter of pure permission and simple Same. permit them to stay. Same. The latest agreement is Enhanced Defense government before a member of the U. shall have the right to access Act and the Data Privacy Act. merely grant possessing firearms are illegal for foreign civilians. Of note is No. 541.” Unlike U.”—The latest agreement is EDCA. personnel may be “dispos[ed] x x x outside of the described in implementing arrangements. neither mandatory nor obligatory on the part of the Philippines to admit 5487. Presidency. Since Article II(3) of EDCA specifically leaves Foreign Investment Negative list. The laws in place them the right of access to.S. and activities are subject to all laws and treaties accommodations.Same. contractors are subject to Philippine immigration applicable within the Philippine territory. Relevantly.S.S. In the 2015 within the Agreed Locations. We emphasize that the admission of related structures based on Commonwealth Act No. As prove that they are not subject to exclusion under any provision of visiting aliens. detained in the country or being subject to the jurisdiction of our courts.S. 15. and No. As visiting aliens. It is neither mandatory nor obligatory on Philippine territory be in accordance with Philippine law.S. Nowhere in Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement Same. military and civilian personnel under the VFA.) contractors into the certain privileges denied to aliens are likewise denied to foreign military country.S. which proposes a the plenary power to expel or deport U. Same. Articles III and IV. Consequently. In contrast. United States (U. contractors from the coverage of the VFA. public health. Forces Agreement (VFA) requires a request for removal from the Philippine Same. personnel who are accorded entry their entry.” . presence. Certain privileges denied to aliens are likewise denied (EDCA) are United States (U. in fact.S. and immigrations laws apply to them and exercise the plenary power to expel or deport U. contractors guaranteed immediate contractors. This means that the part of the Philippines to admit United States (U. Same. Same. Preliminarily. their morals. and national interest.S.S. labor laws. owning. Such Agreed Locations may be listed requires a request for removal from the Philippine government before a in an annex to be appended to this Agreement.) contractors are explicitly excluded tolerance which creates no obligation on the part of the government to from the coverage of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). providing security and carrying. The President may Our penal laws. it is cannot have any foreign equity by virtue of Section 4 of Republic Act No. Same. they shall not be identified corporations that have equity restrictions in Philippine granted the same entry accommodations and privileges as those enjoyed by jurisdiction. They may be pursuant to his absolute and unqualified power to prohibit or prevent the refused entry or expelled from the country if they engage in illegal or admission of aliens whose presence in the country would be inimical to undesirable activities. and may be further member of the U. Visiting Forces Agreement. In contrast. There is nothing that prevents them from being public interest.S.”—In the same vein. United States to be illegal or undesirable aliens pursuant to the Philippine Immigration contractors. Agreed Locations. public are facilities and areas that are provided by the Government of the morals.S. laws. They may also be deported if they are found Philippines through the AFP and that United States forces. the President may exercise “Agreed Locations. public health. 5 on the list — private security agencies that U. Same.

accords very strong rights to the owner of property. in ownership is established. the government asserts of these locations. without other limitations than those established by law. question. United States forces and United States contractors. 596 (1957).S. Significantly. then whatever rights are transmitted by agreement does not completely divest the owner of the rights over the property. forces are allowed to access and use. Same. transferred. forces may dispose of the property in whatever way deemed fit. In this case. In this instance. to have operational control over its own forces. This provision evinces the Moreover. What U.S. even against those who hold the property. Jurisprudence bears out limits of the law. So long as the right of ownership itself is not transferred. but only of certain rights. Same. In Roman Catholic marshal of the U. after all. Previously. So long as the right of ownership itself is not responsibility for security with respect to the Agreed Locations. EDCA explicitly provides that ownership of the itself. Article much the same way that the Philippines exercises operational control over 428 of the Civil Code provides that “[t]he owner has the right to enjoy and its own units. Same.” over personnel in a commander subordinate relationship and does not include control over the Agreed Locations in this particular case. For actual operations. Hence. the Philippines retains primary Same. Land Registration Commission. it was the provost transfer of ownership.” It is but logical. Agreed Locations remains with the Philippine government. bases. merely raises a disputable Same. The Philippines retains primary responsibility for presumption of ownership. Same. even pending mutual agreement. sovereignty over its territory. Possession. Agreed Locations are territories of the Philippines that the U. such that both stakeholders have a say on possessor of the thing in order to recover it. Same.S. Even the previously discussed to allow access and use is consistent with the Civil Code. Same.— From the text of EDCA processes. who kept the peace and enforced Philippine law in the Apostolic Administrator of Davao. Even if the lawfulness of the attack were not in over the property. Philippine forces act as peace officers. international humanitarian law standards prevent participants in an armed conflict from targeting nonparticipants. This act does not translate into the full gives it actual control over those locations. Inc. For actual operations. the fact that even under the former legal regime of the MBA. is access to and use areas and retaining unrestricted access to them.” be planned and preapproved by the MDBSEB. Same. then the rights of ownership flow freely. the owner “has also a right of action against the holder and partnership aspect of EDCA. The difference between then divest the owner of the rights over the property. subject to the must be coordinated with Philippine authorities.S. is access to and use of these locations. Same. but may only limit them in and now is that EDCA retains the primary jurisdiction of the Philippines accordance with law. this interpretation is readily explicitly provides that ownership of the Agreed Locations remains with the implied by the reference to the taking of “appropriate measures to protect Philippine government. but may only Philippine law remains in force therein.—Even if the Same.already claims that the proviso that the Philippines shall retain ownership Agreement (EDCA) is clear that any activity must be planned and of and title to the Agreed Locations means that EDCA is “consistent with preapproved by the Mutual Defense BoardSecurity Engagement Board Article II of the VFA which recognizes Philippine sovereignty and (MDBSEB). Same. we stated that the constitutional proscription on contrast to the 1947 MBA provisions on jurisdiction.S. By withholding ownership of these personnel have a right to. pending mutual agreement.S. property ownership is not violated despite the foreign national’s control Same. Though Same. v. Enhanced Defense Cooperation . for the U. and it cannot be said that limit them in accordance with law. which can be contested through normal judicial security with respect to the Agreed Locations. Philippine then whatever rights are transmitted by agreement does not completely laws continue to be in force within the bases.—The legal concept of operational control involves authority jurisdiction over locations within Philippine territory. even control over the property is something over the security of the Agreed Locations. Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) not necessarily stated in EDCA provisions. since the owner necessary measures for operational control and defense over U.—Once necessary.) personnel have a right to. That sovereignty exists so long as the Filipino people exist. What United States (U.—The right of the owner of the property jurisdiction has been transferred to the U. EDCA is clear that any activity must dispose of a thing.S. an important provision that that an owner may transmit freely. Same. in stark 102 Phil. Hence.” Philippine civil law therefore how its provisions should be put into effect.

—The provisions in EDCA dealing with Agreed ratification. international humanitarian military equipment being present in the Philippines must likewise be law standards prevent participants in an armed conflict from targeting contextualized. would be agreement with US violated the constitutional requirement of Art XVIII. questioned before national security in the event an Agreed Location is subjected to attack. aside from general statements that the petitions involve the temporary accommodation of personnel. Moreover. that would ensure its territorial integrity and national security in the and such other activities that as may be agreed upon by the parties. as citizens. expressly limits allowable VFA already authorizes the U. Philippines at any time. which contributes to the military effort of the U. and that their constitutional rights as citizens activities. facility. which is the branch of presence of U.S. Same. Same. the Philippines. here. participants to an armed conflict are held to be used “in connection with activities” contemplated therein. also expressed its position that EDCA needs congressional equipment in the country. Same. joint and then. it does not create the situation so feared by petitioners — one in which the Mainly. 2014. military base. Visiting Forces Agreement. U. Philippines “equipment. Concerns on national security problems that arise from foreign would be violated. The Senate. petitioners of altered or improved facilities and newly constructed permanent or non- suing as citizens may dodge the requirement of having to establish a direct relocatable structures.S.S. to build requirements of legal standing in assailing the constitutionality of permanent structures or alter or improve existing ones for. while not participating in an armed conflict. petitioners posit that the use of executive agreement as medium of Philippines. and to be owned EDCA by. through Senate (VFA) already authorizes the presence of United States (U.lawfulness of the attack were not in question. as embodied by the Geneva Conventions US and that they have the discretion to “remove such property from the and their Additional Protocols. EDCA authorizes the U. and other property” that will Under this legal regime. humanitarian and disaster relief activities. Aside from the right to access and to use the forces must take all measures to ensure that they have complied with the Agreed Locations. materials. x x x. There is. Under EDCA. the VFA already authorizes the nonparticipants. an agreement entered into by the executive department with only be legitimate under international humanitarian law if it is against a the US and ratified on June 6. to import into or acquire in the military conduct exhibited by forces of a participant in an armed conflict. forces will also be allowed to use and personal interest if they show that the act affects a public right. ample legal protection for the Philippines under international law combined training activities. within the Agreed Locations: security cooperation exercises. The same specific standards of conduct that require them to distinguish between section also recognizes that “[t]itle to such property shall remain” with the combatants and non combatants. Under the EDCA. supplies. x x x. International humanitarian law. EDCA is clear that the Philippines retains ownership No. support and related activities.S. the PH shall bona fide U. military equipment in the country. Most significantly. taxpayers and former legislators. Sec 25 since the EDCA involves foreign military bases. As EDCA stands.S.— the SC the constitutionality of EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Any armed attack by forces of a third state against an Agreed Location can Agreement). In assailing the constitutionality of a governmental act. There is ample legal protection for the Philippines Facts: under international law that would ensure its territorial integrity and Petitioners.S. or installation that directly provide the US forces the access and use of portions of PH territory. The Visiting Forces Agreement a treaty concurred in by the Senate. communications” and agreed protection of a public right. the third state’s are called Agreed Locations. But facilities and areas for “training. legitimately targeted by an enemy of the U.) military Resolution 105.S. troops and facilities whose entry into the country should be covered by Same. the petitioners failed to make any specific assertion of a . the US may undertake the following types of activities principle of distinction (between combatants and noncombatants). Locations are analogous to those in the aforementioned executive agreements. event an Agreed Location is subjected to attack. Instead of authorizing the building of temporary structures as Issue 1: W/N the petitions as “citizen’s suit” satisfy the previous agreements have done.S. Article VII of the international law applicable to armed conflict.” Same.

the President is empowered to enter into enforcement of the assailed act. Here. of transcendental importance which justify setting aside the rule on troops or facilities in the country. Hence. the absence of Senate procedural technicalities. but Issue 2: W/N the petitioners have legal standing as “taxpayers” because the petitioners satisfy the requirements in invoking the court’s No. has been neither an appropriation nor an authorization of disbursement. Sec 25 thereof. nor is it directed at the disbursement of public funds. that have No. those challenging the act must specifically show that they No. which provides for a stricter mechanism required before any foreign military bases. would show that there if it merely aims to implement an existing law or treaty. particularly Art XVIII. Executive Department in not submitting the EDCA agreement for Senate concurrence not because of the transcendental importance of the issue. the injured party would be the Senate as an institution or the status of these prior agreements. The power to concur in a treaty or an international agreement is an already been concurred in by the Philippine Senate and have thereby met institutional prerogative granted by the Constitution to the Senate. The EDCA clearly involves the entry of foreign military bases. none of the petitioners. These are existing treaties between the Philippines and the U. troops or facilities if (1) must establish that EDCA involves the exercise by Congress of its taxing or such agreement is not the instrument that allows the entry of such and (2) spending powers. have the legal standing to maintain the suit. Although petitioners lack legal standing. who are De Castro Dissent: former senators. Sec 25. Petitioners cannot sue as taxpayers because EDCA is neither meant expanded jurisdiction. Court as citizens’ suits that would justify a disregard of the The court may exercise its power of judicial review over the act of the aforementioned requirements. Applying that principle to this case. The challenge raised here is rooted in the very concurrence to the agreement makes it an invalid treaty. Because of legislator’s suit. the present petitions cannot be considered by the violated through the commission of an act with grave abuse of discretion.particular public right that would be violated by the enforcement of EDCA. and that they will sustain a direct injury as a result of the Under the Constitution. however. The EDCA is entirely a new treaty. troops or facilities may be allowed in the country. In a the requirements of the Constitution under Art XVIII. they raise matters distinguish. Whether the stay of the foreign troops in the country is the case permanent or temporary is immaterial because the Constitution does not Yes. EDCA is in the form of an executive agreement since it merely involves Issue 3: W/N the petitions qualify as “legislator’s suit” “adjustments in detail” in the implementation of the MTD and the VFA. not a treaty. No. money. Constitution itself. that is allegedly being violated. EDCA need not be transmitted to the any of its incumbent members. to be a tax measure. requirement of legal standing in asserting that a public right has been For their failure to do so. Issue 5: W/N the non-submission of the EDCA agreement for A taxpayer’s suit concerns a case in which the official act complained of concurrence by the Senate violates the Constitution directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation. Such is of paramount public interest that the Court is behooved to determine whether there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Executive Department. as it is the Senate’s constitutional function Senate.S. A reading of the EDCA. but on a different line of reasoning. Here. separate and distinct from the VFA Issue 4: W/N the SC may exercise its Power of Judicial Review over and the MDT. they executive agreements on foreign military bases. The EDCA need not be submitted to the Senate for concurrence have sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of public because it is in the form of a mere executive agreement. Brion Dissent: Yes. The petitioners satisfied the .