MANILA — Despite the number of petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) questioning the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), Malacanang on Saturday said that it is still ready to defend it.
The EDCA is an agreement between the Philippines and the United States signed last April 28 which aims to advance the implementation of the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in an interview over state-run dzRB radio, raised the issue after a third petition questioning the defense pact was filed by labor groups from the public and private sectors.
The petition, filed Friday, argued that the EDCA violated the 1987 Philippine Constitution for allowing US troops to establish and operate military bases in the Philippines without paying for the of space and facilities.
“This is a free country. If you feel there is an issue you want to raise before the court, in this case the EDCA, any citizen can file petition questioning the legality,” Lacierda said.
“We believe that it (the EDCA) is constitutional so we are prepared to defend the outcome before the Supreme Court,” he added.
Lacierda added that there have already been previous petitions against the EDCA and for the third time around, the government was still willing to defend it.