THE Supreme Court (SC) has not blocked the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) with the United States, a deal which gives more access to American troops to Philippine military bases.
Instead, the SC on Tuesday ordered government officials led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to comment on the petitions within 10 days.
Former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada and militant groups such as Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc asked the SC last week to void Edca, saying it is a treaty and requires Senate concurrence, contrary to Malacañang's stance that it is an executive agreement.
Bayan said that the agreement heavily favors the US, citing the rent-free provision for agreed locations, tax exemptions for American forces and their contractors, as well as the "unlimited term" of the Edca, which will go beyond 10 years.
Edca allows the US to build structures, store as well as preposition weapons, defense supplies and materiel, station troops, civilian personnel and defense contractors, transit and station vehicles, vessels, and aircraft.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg signed Edca on April 28 in time for the state visit of American President Barack Obama. (Sunnex)