Visiting Forces Agreement In The Philippines
On that day, the Philippine government, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, made an official communication to the United States cancelling the agreement that governs the status of U.S. forces in the Philippines. But in Duterte`s announcement, there is a glimmer of hope: according to the agreement, the official cancellation of the VfA will not take effect for 180 days, meaning that Washington and Manila have until August 9 to save them or negotiate a new VFA to avoid a new alliance crisis. The challenge is that Duterte is an extreme anti-US. President, who could try to eliminate the MDT as a whole in favor of greater autonomy and better relations with China and Russia. But success speaks volumes about the permanence of the alliance, despite the whims of an autocratic president. “It is indeed the right of the Philippine government to do so if it finds that the agreement is no longer in our national interest,” Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana said on 24 January. On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.  In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.
 The United States has used the agreement at least twice to keep the accused military under U.S. jurisdiction.  On January 18, 2006, the U.S. Military retained custody of four soldiers accused of rape while they were visiting Subic Bay during their trial in a Philippine court.  They were detained by U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. This has led to protests from those who believe that the agreement is unilateral, harmful and contrary to the sovereignty of the Philippines. [Citation required] The agreement has been characterized as immunity from criminal prosecution for U.S. military personnel who commit crimes against Filipinos and treatment of Filipinos as second-class citizens in their own country.   As a result of these problems, some members of the Philippine Congress considered ending the VFA in 2006.   However, the agreement has not been amended.
According to the text of the diplomatic note, the six-month waiver “may be extended by the Philippines for a further six months.” At the end of this period, Manila, unless further action is taken, would return to its original plan to denounce the agreement, which was first announced on 11 February 2020. The VFA provides for rules on the entry and exit of U.S. personnel to the Philippines, the transfer of military ships and aircraft, and the importation and export of equipment and goods related to the activities covered by the agreement. The second challenge, Suzette Nicolas y Sombilon Vs. Alberto Romulo, et al. / Jovito R. Salonga, et al. Vs.
Daniel Smith, et al. / Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, et al. Vs. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al., on 2 January 2007, was re-decided by the Supreme Court on 11 February 2009. In deciding this second challenge, Court 9-4 (with two judges who inhibit) ruled that “the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) concluded on February 10, 1998 between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States is in accordance with the Constitution … The decision continued, particularly with respect to the subic Rape case, “… the Romulo-Kenney agreements of 19 and 22 December 2006 are not in accordance with the VFA, and the respondent Minister of Foreign Affairs is invited to immediately contact us with the United States representatives regarding the corresponding agreement on detention centres under the Philippine authorities, in accordance with s.