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158 TABASA vs.

CA AUTHOR: TANG
G.R. No. 138572 Notes:
TOPIC: Article XVIII, Sections 4 & 25 (on foreign military bases)
PONENTE: Buena
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:

Visiting Forces Agreement; Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution should apply to the Visiting Forces Agreement.Undoubtedly, Section
25, Article XVIII, which specifically deals with treaties involving foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, should apply in the instant case. To a
certain extent and in a limited sense, however, the provisions of Section 21, Article VII will find applicability with regard to the issue and for the
sole purpose of determining the number of votes required to obtain the valid concurrence of the Senate, as will be further discussed hereunder.

Emergency Recit:

FACTS:

On March 14, 1947, the Philippines and the United States of America forged a Military Bases Agreement which formalized,
among others, the use of installations in the Philippine territory by United States military personnel. To further strengthen their
defense and security relationship, the Philippines and the United States entered into a Mutual Defense Treaty on August 30, 1951.
Under the treaty, the parties agreed to respond to any external armed attack on their territory, armed forces, public vessels, and
aircraft.
In view of the impending expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991, the Philippines and the United States
negotiated for a possible extension of the military bases agreement. On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected the
proposed RP-US Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security which, in effect, would have extended the presence of US military
bases in the Philippines. With the expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement, the periodic military exercises conducted
between the two countries were held in abeyance. Notwithstanding, the defense and security relationship between the Philippines
and the United States of America continued pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty.

On July 18, 1997, the United States panel, headed by US Defense Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Pacific Kurt Campbell, met
with the Philippine panel, headed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rodolfo Severino Jr., to exchange notes on the complementing
strategic interests of the United States and the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific region. Both sides discussed, among other things, the
possible elements of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA for brevity). Negotiations by both panels on the VFA led to a consolidated
draft text, which in turn resulted to a final series of conferences and negotiationsthat culminated in Manila on January 12 and 13,
1998. Thereafter, then President Fidel V. Ramos approved the VFA, which was respectively signed by public respondent Secretary
Siazon and Unites States Ambassador Thomas Hubbard on February 10, 1998.
On October 5, 1998, President Joseph E. Estrada, through respondent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, ratified the VFA.
On October 6, 1998, the President, acting through respondent Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, officially transmitted to
the Senate of the Philippines, the Instrument of Ratification, the letter of the President and the VFA, for concurrence pursuant to
Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. The Senate, in turn, referred the VFA to its Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired
by Senator Blas F. Ople, and its Committee on National Defense and Security, chaired by Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon, for their joint
consideration and recommendation. Thereafter, joint public hearings were held by the two Committees

ISSUE(S):Is the VFA governed by the provisions of Section 21, Article VII or of Section 25, Article XVIII of
the Constitution?
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HELD: YES

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RATIO:
Treaties; Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution deals with treaties or international agreements in general, while Section 25,
Article XVIII is a special provision that applies to treaties which involve the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities
in the Philippines.Section 21, Article VII deals with treaties or international agreements in general, in which case, the concurrence
of at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of the Senate is required to make the subject treaty, or international agreement,
valid and binding on the part of the Philippines. This provision lays down the general rule on treaties or international agreements
and applies to any form of treaty with a wide variety of subject matter, such as, but not limited to, extradition or tax treaties or
those economic in nature. All treaties or international agreements entered into by the Philippines, regardless of subject matter,
coverage, or particular designation or appellation, requires the concurrence of the Senate to be valid and effective. In contrast,
Section 25, Article XVIII is a special provision that applies to treaties which involve the presence of foreign military bases, troops or
facilities in the Philippines. Under this provision, the concurrence of the Senate is only one of the requisites to render compliance
with the constitutional requirements and to consider the agreement binding on the Philippines. Section 25, Article XVIII further
requires that foreign military bases, troops, or facilities may be allowed in the Philippines only by virtue of a treaty duly concurred
in by the Senate, ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a national referendum held for that purpose if so required by Congress,
and recognized as such by the other contracting state.

Conditions Before Military Bases, Troops or Facilities May Be Allowed.Section 25, Article XVIII disallows foreign
military bases, troops, or facilities in the country, unless the following conditions are sufficiently met, viz: (a) it must be under
a treaty; (b) the treaty must be duly concurred in by the Senate and, when so required by Congress, ratified by a majority of
the votes cast by the people in a national referendum; and (c) recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state.
DISSENTING/CONCURRING OPINION(S):