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The Philippines and the United States entered into a Mutual Defense Treaty on August 30, 1951,
To further strengthen their defense and security relationship. Under the treaty, the parties agreed
to respond to any external armed attack on their territory, armed forces, public vessels, and

On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected the proposed RP-US Treaty of
Friendship, Cooperation and Security which, in effect, would have extended the presence of US
military bases in the Philippines.

On July 18, 1997 RP and US exchanged notes and discussed, among other things, the possible
elements of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).This resulted to a series of conferences and
negotiations which culminated on January 12 and 13, 1998. Thereafter, President Fidel Ramos
approved the VFA, which was respectively signed by Secretary Siazon and United States
Ambassador Thomas Hubbard.

On October 5, 1998, President Joseph E. Estrada, through respondent Secretary of Foreign

Affairs, ratified the VFA. On October 6, 1998, the President, acting through respondent
Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, officially transmitted to the Senate of the Philippines,the
Instrument of Ratification, the letter of the President and the VFA, for concurrence pursuant to
Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.

Petitions for certiorari and prohibition, petitioners as legislators, non-governmental

organizations, citizens and taxpayers assail the constitutionality of the VFA and impute to
herein respondents grave abuse of discretion in ratifying the agreement.

Petitioner contends, under they provision cited, the foreign military bases, troops, or facilities
may be allowed in the Philippines unless the following conditions are sufficiently met: a) it must
be a treaty,b) it must be duly concurred in by the senate, ratified by a majority of the votes cast in
a national referendum held for that purpose if so required by congress, and c) recognized as such
by the other contracting state.

Respondents, on the other hand, argue that Section 21 Article VII is applicable so that, what is
requires for such treaty to be valid and effective is the concurrence in by at least two-thirds of all
the members of the senate.


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

Section 25, Article XVIII, which specifically deals with treaties involving foreign military bases,
troops or facilities should apply in the instant case.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution contains two provisions requiring the concurrence of the
Senate on treaties or international agreements. Sec. 21 Art. VII, which respondent invokes, reads:
No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least
2/3 of all the Members of the Senate. Sec. 25 Art. XVIII provides : After the expiration in 1991
of the Agreement between the RP and the US concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases,
troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in
and when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of votes cast by the people in a national
referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the Senate by the other
contracting state.

The first cited provision applies to any form of treaties and international agreements in general
with a wide variety of subject matter. All treaties and international agreements entered into by the
Philippines, regardless of subject matter, coverage or particular designation requires the
concurrence of the Senate to be valid and effective.

In contrast, the second cited provision applies to treaties which involve presence of foreign
military bases, troops and facilities in the Philippines. Both constitutional provisions share some
common ground. The fact that the President referred the VFA to the Senate under Sec. 21 Art.
VII, and that Senate extended its concurrence under the same provision is immaterial.