VFA 'whipping boy' Dela Rosa won't back Senate assertion on right to treaty abrogation

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2020 07:53 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2020 08:34 PM

MANILA - Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Tuesday said he would not support the Senate's move to assert before the Supreme Court that the executive branch needs the concurrence of the legislative chamber in scrapping treaties.

The Constitution is clear that the Senate has no role in abrogating treaties, Dela Rosa told reporters when asked about his stand on the issue.

"I'm sorry for my colleagues. I will not support that," he said.

"Pasensya na kung magkatampuhan kami dito. But itong certain issue na ito, lalong-lalo na ako ang nagiging poster boy o whipping boy ng VFA, I have to stand my ground," he added.

Several senators decided to draft a petition that will ask the high court to cite the Senate's role in the cancellation of treaties after President Rodrigo Duterte unilaterally pulled out the Philippines from its Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States.

Duterte canceled the accord that governs the conduct of American troops in the Philippines after the US canceled the visa of Dela Rosa, who led the President's deadly war on drugs.

Duterte's first appointed police chief admitted that his refusal to back the Senate's planned petition has something to do with his loyalty to the President.

"Ano na lang sabihin sakin ni President? 'Ikaw Bato dinepensahan kita nung winalang hiya ka ng mga Amerikano, tapos ayaw mo man lang suportahan yung stand ko?'" Dela Rosa said.

Earlier this month, Dela Rosa abstained from voting on the Senate's resolution urging Duterte to reconsider his decision to withdraw from the VFA.

"I will sink or swim with the President... [but] I am not blindly following him. Nagkataon lang na pareho kami mag-isip," he said.

Senators Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Christopher "Bong" Go, and Bong Revilla earlier said they will not support the Senate's assertion of its right to be consulted before the executive cancels a treaty.

The 6 senators ran under the administration-backed Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which was led by Duterte's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.