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Saguisag vs. Ochoa 7.

On March 14, 1947, Agreement between US and phil concerning

military bases was signed. ( president Roxas and US)

8. MBA gave the US the control of at least 16 bases including Clark

FACTS: and Subic base as well as the access to use of Philippine facilities
These consolidated petitions before the Court question the such as Mactan Island Army and Florida Blanca in Pampanga
constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation 9. RP-US Military Assistance Agreement was signed provided for
Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and US. Petitioners the creation of JUSMAG ( Joint US Advisory Group and permanent
alleged that respondents committed grave abuse of discretion stationing of USmilitary forces in Manila;
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they entered into
EDCA with the U.S., claiming that EDCA violated multiple 10. Mutual Defense Treaty was signed in Washington. MDT lasted
constitutional provisions. While, Respondents argued that for 25 years. Over the years, US military bases in the country served
petitioners lack standing to bring the suit. To support the as launching sites for US involvement in various wars such as
legality of their actions, respondents invoke the 1987 Vietnam war.
Constitution, treaties, and judicial precedents.
11. In 1987 the Phil constitution was ratified , which explicitly
HISTORICAL FACTS OF EDCA ( YOU MAY DISREGARD THIS) prohibits foreign military bases, troops and facilities in the country
beyond the year 1991, except under a treaty concurred by Senate.
1. The defeat of the Spanish fleet at the hands of the US naval Therafter, Phil. Senate voted not to renew the MDT.
forces at the Battle of Manila on May 1, 1898, cleared the day for
the US occupation in Manila and the transfer of the Phil. To US from 12. However, on May 27, 1999, the Phil Senate ratified the RP-US
Spain. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

2. Philippine independence was declared on June 12 , 1898; 13. Petitioner Bayan challenged the Constitutionality of VFA but the
agreement was upheld as valid.
3. Treaty of Paris was signed by US and Spain on Dec. 10, 1898,
whereby Spain ceding several islands to US; 14. In 2002 , Balikatan was launched to send US troops to Mindanao
to assist Phil forces in the war on terror against Abu Sayaff.
4. In 1901, President Roosvelt issued an executive order
establishing the Subic Bay Naval Reservation; 15. On Sep. 23, 2009, in the light of the Subic rape case and after
hearings regarding VFA , Senate paased a resolution calling on the
5. In 1902, Roosvelt signed another EO establishing Fort Executive to renegotiate the VFA and if the US refused, issue a
Stotsenburg which was later occupied by Clark Airbase. notice of termination of the agreement
6. The was ensued between Phil. And US. The military victory 16. In 2012, Pres. Obama announced its strategic pivot towards Asia
enabled the US to establish control over the Phil. Politically and as laid down in Sustaining US global leadership, priorities for 21 st
economically. Successive military governors exercising military, century defense seeking to deploy 60% of its warship to Asia.
executive and civilian functions were appointed; Thereafter, dialogues were made in Washington . The dialogue
ended with the Phil. Delegation clearly upon the instruction of Pres.

Aquino, agreeing to adopt a policy of increased of rotational The President may enter into an executive agreement on
presence of US troops , increased military exercises and more foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, if (a) it is not
frequent port calls by the US ships. the instrument that allows the presence of foreign military
bases, troops, or facilities; or (b) it merely aims to
17. In 2013 , US-Phil began negotiations for the Framework implement an existing law or treaty.
Agreement for increased rotational presence and enhanced defense
cooperation which sought to give US military access to the Phil The President had the choice to enter into EDCA by way
facilities. The framework was in the form of EXECUTIVE of a executive agreement or a treaty. No court can tell the
AGREEMENT NOT NEEDING THE SENATE’S CONCURRENCE. President to desist from choosing an executive agreement
The negotiators the changed the name of the framework agreement over a treaty to embody an international agreement, unless
to EDCA ( enhanced defense cooperation Agreement) the case falls squarely within Article VIII, Section 25.
Executive agreements may cover the matter of foreign
18 April 28, 2014 DFA Sec. Gazmin and US Ambassador to Ph. military forces if it merely involves detail adjustments.
Philip Goldberg signed the EDCA.
The executive agreement must not go beyond the
19. It was only on April 29, 2014 , the text of EDCA was made parameters, limitations, and standards set by the law and/or
publicy available via government websites. treaty that the former purports to implement; and must not
20. Finding EDCA grossly one-sided and greatly disadvantageous to unduly expand the international obligation expressly
the Philippines , petitioners, then, filed petitions before the SC mentioned or necessarily implied in the law or treaty.
questioning the constitutionality and or legality of EDCA. The executive agreement must be consistent with the
Hence, this petition. Constitution, as well as with existing laws and treaties.

ISSUES: In light of the President's choice to enter into EDCA in the

form of an executive agreement, respondents carry the
1. A. Whether the President may enter into an executive burden of proving that it is a mere implementation of
agreement on foreign military bases, troops, or facilities? (YES) existing laws and treaties concurred in by the Senate.
EDCA must thus be carefully dissected to ascertain if it
B. Is EDCA a treaty or an international agreement that requires
remains within the legal parameters of a valid executive
Senate concurrence? (No)
agreement. EDCA is consistent with the content, purpose, and
HELD: framework of the MDT and the VFA

1. A. YES.The President may enter into an executive agreement The starting point of our analysis is the rule that "an
pertaining to foreign military bases, troops, or facilities. The role of executive agreement xx x may not be used to amend a treaty.
the President as the executor of the law includes the duty to Both the history and intent of the Mutual Defense Treaty
defend the State, for which purpose he may use that power in the and the VFA support the conclusion that combat-related
conduct of foreign relations. SC has interpreted the faithful execution activities as opposed to combat itself such as the one subject
clause as an obligation imposed on the President, and not a of the instant petition, are indeed authorized.
separate grant of power.

Hence, even if EDCA was borne of military necessity, it The effect of this statement is surprisingly profound, for, if
cannot be said to have strayed from the intent of the VFA taken literally, the phrase "shall not be allowed in the
since EDCA's combat-related components are allowed under Philippines" plainly refers to the entry of bases, troops, or
the treaty. facilities in the country.

It is evident that the constitutional restriction refers solely to

the initial entry of the foreign military bases, troops, or
facilities. Once entry is authorized, the subsequent acts are
Another difference is that EDCA supposedly introduces a thereafter subject only to the limitations provided by the rest of the
new concept not contemplated in the VFA or the MDT: Constitution and Philippine law, and not to the Section 25
Agreed Locations, Contractors, Pre- positioning, and requirement of validity through a treaty.
Operational Control. As previously mentioned, these points The VFA has already allowed the entry of troops in the
shall be addressed fully and individually in the latter Philippines. This Court stated in Lim v. Executive Secretary: Thus,
analysis of EDCA's provisions. However, it must already be EDCA can be in the form of an executive agreement, since
clarified that the terms and details used by an it merely involves "adjustments in detail" in the
implementing agreement need not be found in the mother implementation of the MDT and the VFA. It points out that
treaty. They must be source from the authority derived from there are existing treaties between the Philippines and the U.S.
the treaty, but are not necessarily expressed word-for-word that have already been concurred in by the Philippine Senate
in the mother treaty. and have thereby met the requirements of the Constitution
under Section 25. Because of the status of these prior
agreements, respondent emphasizes that EDCA need not be
transmitted to the Senate.
B. Meanwhile, the power of the President to enter into Therefore, the President may generally enter into executive
binding executive agreements without Senate concurrence is agreements subject to limitations defined by the Constitution and
already well-established in this jurisdiction. Although the may be in furtherance of a treaty already concurred in by the
provision of Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution provides that: Senate.
SECTION 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement The duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land is inherent in
between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States executive power and is intimately related to the other executive
of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, functions. These functions include the faithful execution of the
troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines law in autonomous regions; the right to prosecute crimes; the
except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate implementation of transportation projects; the duty to ensure
and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority compliance with treaties, executive agreements and
of the votes by cast the people in a national referendum executive orders; the authority to deport undesirable aliens; the
held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the conferment of national awards under the President's jurisdiction;
other contracting State. and the overall administration and control of the executive
department. These obligations are as broad as they sound, for

a President cannot function with crippled hands, but must be ineffective. Both types of international agreement are
capable of securing the rule of law. nevertheless subject To the supremacy of the Constitution.

Executive agreements may dispense with the requirement of This rule does not imply, though, that the President is
Senate concurrence because of the legal mandate with given carte blanche to exercise this discretion. Although
which they are concluded. As culled from the deliberations the Chief Executive wields the exclusive authority to
of the Constitutional Commission, past Supreme Court conduct our foreign relations, this power must still be
Decisions, and works of noted scholars, executive exercised within the context and the parameters set by the
agreements merely involve arrangements on the Constitution, as well as by existing domestic and
implementation of existing policies, rules, laws, or international laws. There are constitutional provisions that
agreements. They are concluded (1) to adjust the details of restrict or limit the President's prerogative in concluding
a treaty; (2) pursuant to or upon confirmation by an act of international agreements, such as those that involve the
the Legislature;or (3) in the exercise of the President's following:
independent power.

First, executive agreements must remain traceable to an

express or implied authorization under the Constitution, 1. The policy of freedom from nuclear weapons within
statutes, or treaties. The absence of these precedents puts Philippine territory
the validity and effectivity of executive agreements under 2. The fixing of tariff rates, import and export quotas,
serious question for the main function of the Executive is tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts,
to enforce the Constitution and the laws enacted by the which must be pursuant to the authority granted by
Legislature, not to defeat or interfere in the performance of Congress
these rules.
3. The grant of any tax exemption, which must be
In sum, executive agreements cannot create new pursuant to a law concurred in by a majority of all the
international obligations that are not expressly allowed or Members of Congress. The contracting or guaranteeing,
reasonably implied in the law they purport to implement. on behalf of the Philippines, of foreign loans that must be
Second, treaties are, by their very nature, considered previously concurred in by the Monetary Board.
superior to executive agreements. Treaties are products of the
acts of the Executive and the Senate unlike executive
agreements, which are solely executive actions. Because of
legislative participation through the Senate, a treaty is
regarded as being on the same level as a statute. If there
is an irreconcilable conflict, a later law or treaty takes
precedence over one that is prior. An executive agreement is
treated differently. Executive agreements that are
inconsistent with either a law or a treaty are considered