Drilon will be Senate lead counsel in SC plea

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    SENATE minority leader Franklin Drilon will be the Senate’s lead counsel when senators go to the Supreme Court (SC) today to file their petition seeking clarification on their role in the termination of international treaties.

    In an interview over dzBB, Drilon said the petition has been finalized as of Saturday and its filing will push through today.

    “Iyon po ang plano dahilan sa tapos na ang petition, na-finalize na kahapon. Tumulong po tayo sa paggawa ng petition. Ako ang haharap na abogado ng Senado (That’s the plan [that we file the petition on Monday] because the petition has been finished last Saturday. I helped in drafting the petition, and I will be the lead counsel of the Senate),” said Drilon, a four-time Senate president and former justice secretary.

    Voting 12-0-7, the Senate last week adopted Resolution No. 337 which seeks clarification from the SC whether the President has the sole authority to abrogate international treaties.

    Drilon earlier said that while the Constitution is silent on the Senate’s role in ending treaties, it should be that the Senate must also have a say in terminating the same just as the Senate has a role in approving international treaties.

    He said this is called the mirror principle which simply means that the process of withdrawal should mirror the process of approval.

    Drilon said the clarification will not just center on the termination of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement but rather on possible withdrawal of other to treaties in the future.

    “Hindi lang ang VFA ang pinag-usapan dito kung hindi ang kapanagyarihan ng Senado sang-ayon sa Saligang Batas na magbigay ng consent sa pag-withdraw sa treaties (This is not only about the VFA but rather to determine the power of the Senate according to the Constitution to give consent in the withdrawal to treaties),” he said.

    If the SC grants their petition to their favor, Drilon said they will ask the SC to order Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin to bring the VFA issue before the Senate for debates.

    As early as 2017, the Senate has filed a resolution expressing its sense that the termination of any international treaty or agreement concurred by the Senate should not be valid without the concurrence of the upper chamber.