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SaguisagvsExecutiveSecretary 2014 -
Case Digest: GR 212426 Jan 12, 2016 2013
Facts:
Petitioners, as citizens, taxpayers and former legislators, Search
questioned before the SC the constitutionality of EDCA
(Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), an
agreement entered into by the executive department with
the US and ratified on June 6, 2014. Under the EDCA, the
PH shall provide the US forces the access and use of
portions of PH territory, which are called Agreed
Locations. Aside from the right to access and to use the Creative Commons
Agreed Locations, the US may undertake the following
types of activities within the Agreed Locations: security
cooperation exercises; joint and combined training
Licensed under
activities; humanitarian and disaster relief activities; and
Creative Commons
such other activities that as may be agreed upon by the
Attribution-
parties.
NonCommercial 4.0
International License.
Mainly, petitioners posit that the use of executive
agreement as medium of agreement with US violated the
Email Address
constitutional requirement of Art XVIII, Sec 25 since the
EDCA involves foreign military bases, troops and facilities Subscribe
whose entry into the country should be covered by a treaty
concurred in by the Senate. The Senate, through Senate
Resolution 105, also expressed its position that EDCA
needs congressional ratification.

Issue1: W/N the petitions as citizens suit satisfy the


requirements of legal standing in assailing the
constitutionality of EDCA
No. In assailing the constitutionality of a governmental
act, petitioners suing as citizens may dodge the
requirement of having to establish a direct and personal
interest if they show that the act affects a public right. But
here, aside from general statements that the petitions
involve the protection of a public right, and that their
constitutional rights as citizens would be violated, the
petitioners failed to make any specific assertion of a
particular public right that would be violated by the
enforcement of EDCA. For their failure to do so, the
present petitions cannot be considered by the Court as
citizens suits that would justify a disregard of the
aforementioned requirements.

Issue2: W/N the petitioners have legal standing as


taxpayers
No. Petitioners cannot sue as taxpayers because EDCA
is neither meant to be a tax measure, nor is it directed at
the disbursement of public funds.

A taxpayers suit concerns a case in which the official act


complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of
public funds derived from taxation. Here, those
challenging the act must specifically show that they have
sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of
public money, and that they will sustain a direct injury as a
result of the enforcement of the assailed act. Applying
that principle to this case, they must establish that EDCA
involves the exercise by Congress of its taxing or
spending powers. A reading of the EDCA, however,
would show that there has been neither an appropriation
nor an authorization of disbursement.
Issue3: W/N the petitions qualify as legislators suit
No. The power to concur in a treaty or an international
agreement is an institutional prerogative granted by the
Constitution to the Senate. In a legislators suit, the
injured party would be the Senate as an institution or any
of its incumbent members, as it is the Senates
constitutional function that is allegedly being violated.
Here, none of the petitioners, who are former senators,
have the legal standing to maintain the suit.

Issue4: W/N the SC may exercise its Power of Judicial


Review over the case
Yes. Although petitioners lack legal standing, they raise
matters of transcendental importance which justify setting
aside the rule on procedural technicalities. The
challenge raised here is rooted in the very Constitution
itself, particularly Art XVIII, Sec 25 thereof, which provides
for a stricter mechanism required before any foreign
military bases, troops or facilities may be allowed in the
country. Such is of paramount public interest that the
Court is behooved to determine whether there was grave
abuse of discretion on the part of the Executive
Department.

BrionDissent

Yes, but on a different line of reasoning. The petitioners


satisfied the requirement of legal standing in asserting that
a public right has been violated through the commission of
an act with grave abuse of discretion. The court may
exercise its power of judicial review over the act of the
Executive Department in not submitting the EDCA
agreement for Senate concurrence not because of the
transcendental importance of the issue, but because the
petitioners satisfy the requirements in invoking the courts
expanded jurisdiction. Read more

Issue5: W/N the non-submission of the EDCA


agreement for concurrence by the Senate violates the
Constitution
No. The EDCA need not be submitted to the Senate for
concurrence because it is in the form of a mere executive
agreement, not a treaty. Under the Constitution, the
President is empowered to enter into executive
agreements on foreign military bases, troops or facilities if
(1) such agreement is not the instrument that allows the
entry of such and (2) if it merely aims to implement an
existing law or treaty.

EDCA is in the form of an executive agreement since it


merely involves adjustments in detail in the
implementation of the MTD and the VFA. These are
existing treaties between the Philippines and the U.S. that
have already been concurred in by the Philippine Senate
and have thereby met the requirements of the Constitution
under Art XVIII, Sec 25. Because of the status of these
prior agreements, EDCA need not be transmitted to the
Senate.

DeCastroDissent

No. The EDCA is entirely a new treaty, separate and


distinct from the VFA and the MDT. Whether the stay of
the foreign troops in the country is permanent or
temporary is immaterial because the Constitution does not
distinguish. The EDCA clearly involves the entry of
foreign military bases, troops or facilities in the country.
Hence, the absence of Senate concurrence to the
agreement makes it an invalid treaty. Read more

FullText

DeCastroDissent:EDCA is Entirely a New Treaty


Needing Senate Concurrence FullTextlDigest
BrionDissent:EDCA Issue on Absence of Senate
Concurrence Not a Political Question FullTextlDigest

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