DOJ reviewing procedure on VFA termination

By Benjamin Pulta

January 24, 2020, 5:53 pm

<p>Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. (File photo)

MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday confirmed that his office has started to study how best to implement President Rodrigo Duterte's order to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the United States and the Philippines.

"The DOJ has been tasked to study the proper procedure to terminate the VFA. We are doing it now," Guevarra told reporters without giving any further details.

This came after the cancellation of the US visa of former PNP chief and now Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, who used to be one of those who implemented the government's anti-drug campaign.

On Thursday, Duterte warned the US government that he will scrap the agreement if the cancellation of dela Rosa's visa is not rectified within a month.

Signed by the Philippines and the US in 1998, the VFA is an executive agreement that stipulates how visiting American troops should be treated in the Philippines.

Aside from exempting US forces from passport and visa regulations, the agreement also states that their permits and licenses are also deemed valid in the Philippines.

The same policy also applies to Filipino troops in US military installations.

It also allows Washington to retain jurisdiction over US personnel accused of crimes committed in the Philippines. (PNA)