Measure against termination, withdrawal of treaties filed

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Swiss Ambassador visits Sen. Drilon: Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon (right) gifts Swiss Ambassador Alain Gaschen with a copy of the Senate Centennial memorabilia during the latter’s courtesy call at the Senate Wednesday, November 20, 2019. (PRIB Photo by Cesar Tomambo/20 November 2019).

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is pushing for the passage of a resolution that will assert the role of the Senate in treaty termination or withdrawal, saying that any treaty and international agreement should only be valid and effective upon concurrence of the Senate.

“The power to bind the Philippines by a treaty and international agreement is vested jointly by the Constitution in the President and the Senate,” Senate Resolution 305 states.

Article VII, Section 21 of the Constitution provides” that “no treaty of international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”

“A treaty or international agreement ratified by the President and concurred in by the Senate becomes part of the law of the land and may not be undone without the shared power that put it into effect,” the resolution adds.

Drilon first filed the resolution in 2017 during the 17thCongress. During that time, Drilon, along with 13 senators, filed Senate Resolution 289 that emphasized that the Senate should have a say when a treaty or international agreements concurred in by the Senate is terminated or abrogated.

Then neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao, however, blocked its passage.

Of the 13 who co-authored the previous resolution with Drilon, nine are incumbent members of the chamber, including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, Senators Leila De Lima, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Panfilo Lacson, Sonny Angara, and Joel Villanueva.

While Drilon’s resolution did not pass, despite having signed by majority of the senators then, succeeding resolutions adopted by the Senate explicitly provides for provision requiring the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of the Senate before a treaty concurred in by the Senate is terminated.

“The 17th Congress adopted 20 resolutions concurring in the ratification of or accession to various treaties and international agreements which provides “that the President of the Philippines may, with the concurrence of the Senate, withdraw from the Agreement,” the resolution recalls.

Among these treaties include the Accession to the Protocol of 1988 International Convention for the Safety of Life At Sea, Accession to the Protocol of 1997 Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, the Convention on Cybercrime, Asian Infrastructure Bank, a number of fishing agreement and ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Drilon also said that the sphere of foreign affairs is not within the exclusive powers of the President as held by the Supreme Court in Saguisag v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 212426, January 12, 2016).

“The principle of checks and balances, historical precedent and practice accepted as law in most jurisdictions, and the Constitution’s dictate for a shared treaty-making power require that a termination, withdrawal, abrogation or renunciation of a treaty or international agreement can only be done with the same authority that gave it effect – executive ratification with Senate concurrence,” Drilon emphasized in the resolution. (STACY ANG/IAMIGO/CPH)

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