Top-level discussion on VFA cancellation set this week

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. (Photo courtesy by CNN PH)

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guervarra confirmed Tuesday that a top-level discussion over the planned cancellation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) has been set in Malacañang this week.

Guevarra said the Cabinet cluster on security, justice and peace will convene on January 31 and discuss the fate of the VFA with the United States that President Duterte threatened to scrap following the cancellation of the US visa of Sen. Bato dela Rosa.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was supposed to submit a memo on its study on the possible termination of the VFA to the President, but that was put on hold last Monday.

Guevarra also disclosed that he received a high-level advisory instructing his office “to expand the scope of the study, to include a comprehensive and in-depth impact assessment on the wisdom of the executive action terminating the agreement.”

Guevarra also said he already met with the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces (PCVF), but that the wider scope of the study would require discussions with the Cabinet Cluster.

Purpose of the meeting on Friday, 31 January 2020, is for the Cabinet Cluster “to deliberate (on the VFA) and make recommendations to the President.”

Among the cluster members are the departments of National Defense, the Interior and Local Government, Foreign Affairs and DOJ; the Armed Forces of the Philippines; Philippine National Police; National Bureau of Investigation and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. (IAMIGO/CPH)

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