National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers <>

Press Statement

14 January 2016

Re SC EDCA decision:

Hey Joe! Come and No Go?

The Supreme Court’s decision declaring the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) “constitutional” and does not need Senate concurrence is lamentable, to say the least. At best, its sounds more of a judicial cynical incantation that the Philippines remains sovereign and in control of the armed visitors once they set boots in the Philippines en masse, and with more braggadocio.

That executive agreement is another, if not the last nail, driven into the coffin of the independence and sovereignty , nay dignity, of the Filipino people who stood tall in 1991 when they successfully kicked out the US military bases from Clark and Subic.

Today, under the EDCA, US forces may now, with unbridled license, occupy any public facilities and properties, or may erect their own facilities exclusive for them and beyond the supervision and even knowledge of the host country, notwithstanding assurances from the High Court that the Philippine Government will still be in control and will be calling the shots. Tell that to the Marines.

Worse, with EDCA, the Philippines surrenders jurisdiction on erring US military personnel who commit dastardly crimes in Philippine soil; it accords criminals immunity from arrest, prosecution and punishment under the Philippine legal system.

The High Court divided decision in effect justifies many disturbing events after the VFA took effect that for one, marked the re-occupation of a sovereign state – the Philippines — by US armed forces which to date, refuses to report its deployment into the country of nuclear weapons and materiel that Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution prohibits.

The dismissal of the petitions against the EDCA only confirms two opposing trends at this juncture of history: on one hand, the bankruptcy and puppetry of the BS Aquino administration to US dictates, and on the other, the collective determination of the greater majority of the Filipino people to assert their sovereignty with or without the court on its corner.

It does not help either that intellectual boorish bullies from ivory and glass towers churn out anticipated vicious attacks criticizing the people’s legal and political arguments against foreign troops, bases and materiel.

Parenthetically, the decision has unwittingly endorsed presidential candidates kowtowing to US interests who are, not so subtly, being primed by the US government to take over the crown.

We shall nonetheless support a motion for reconsideration of the dismissals. We draw further resolve by the support of freedom-loving allies like the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) which categorically said recently that such kind of military agreements are not only legally dubious and violative of international law on the rights to peace and self-determination but ultimately, the right of peoples to be respected as such.

So Joe, are you coming and will never go? But come to think of it, you never really left. #


Atty. Edre U. Olalia

NUPL Secretary-General

Co-Petitioner and co-counsel


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“By calling yourselves the ‘people’s lawyer,’ you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance.”

– Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message at the NUPL Founding Congress, September 15, 2007

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– Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, NUPL founding chairperson, in his keynote address at the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia Pacific ( COLAP V), September 18, 2010