The Role Of The Philippine Senate In Foreign Policy Making International Law Essay

Wood and Peake ( 1998 ) argue that theoretical and empirical work on public policy preparation has ignored foreign policy. They farther elucidated that the disregard of foreign policy is “ non a affair of opportunity but due to practical grounds. Foreign policy does non readily suit in the theoretical cast most bookmans associate with domestic issues. ”[ 1 ]Foreign policy is defined as the “ province ‘s look and chases of its critical involvement vis-a-vis the postulating involvement of the other provinces ” in an lawless international environment.[ 2 ]Foreign policy features the entirety of the state ‘s policies towards and interactions with environment beyond its boundary lines.[ 3 ]Domestic policy, on the other manus, pertains to the set of Torahs and ordinances that a authorities establishes within its province ‘s boundary lines.

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The linkage between domestic and foreign policy is rooted on the impression that leaders engage in “ two-level games ” wherein they at the same time cope with the force per unit areas and restraints of their domestic political system and with the international environment.[ 4 ]States with different domestic political agreements respond to the restraints of international system with different foreign policy schemes. For illustration, research concerned with pull offing complex mutuality shows that different states respond to common international economic crises in different ways ; this can touch to domestic alliances, institutional agreements and the province of province vis-a-vis social histrions.[ 5 ]

Breuning ( 2007 ) argues that all political leaders face domestic constrains on foreign policy-making. Decision-makers need to analyze non merely whether available options are effectual and appropriate responses to peculiar state of affairss, but besides measure how such options will be received by the domestic audience.

Statement of the Problem

“ To what extent does domestic political relations affect foreign policy-making? ”

This paper attempts to analyze how domestic political relations influence foreign policy-making with focal point on the Philippine-American Visiting Forces Agreement ( VFA ) . It attempts to explicate how the domestic political construction, peculiarly dealingss among authorities bureaus, influence foreign policy decision-making. This paper will be limited to the scrutiny of the function of the Philippine Senate in foreign policy-making. This paper will supply a historical analysis of the RP-US understandings that can supply comprehensive background to the current VFA.

Analytic Model

This paper will follow the attack presented by Hagan ( 1995 ) to exemplify the elements in the logic of political accounts of foreign policy.

Contextual Effectss of Political System Structure:

Democratization and Institutionalization

Interceding effects of Decision Unit ‘s Internal Political Dynamics

Domestic Political Imperative moods

Building Policy Alliances

*divisions within the government

*organized groups in party and province establishments

*mass-level, non-institutional resistance

Retaining Political Power

Divergent Effectss on Foreign Policy

Amplified Risk Taking and Commitment Leanings

Original Propensity to Act Unaffected

Diminished Hazard Taking and Commitment Leanings




Political Schemes

Mobilization: Legitimization of Regime and/or Its Policies

Insulation of Foreign Policy

Adjustment: Bargaining and Controversy Avoidance

This diagram begins with the thought of double domestic jussive moods of edifice policy alliances and retaining political power that confronts leaders get bying with the international environment. As celebrated, domestic political accounts of foreign policy remainder on the thought that decision-makers must at the same time postulate with the force per unit areas of international personal businesss and domestic political relations. Leaderships are challenged to construct policy alliances or domestic support for any proposed policy enterprise. In the Philippines for illustration, alliance edifice revolves around the dealingss between the Legislature and the Executive. The Filipino Legislature has the authorization to do, alter or drive Torahs. The Senate, in peculiar, is vested with the power to veto or curtail major foreign committednesss such as engaging war, modulating trade, come ining into pacts, and disbursement in foreign and defence policy. The President though possessing pre-eminent function in puting the policy docket and preparation of policy proposal, recognizes the necessity to consolidate executive-legislative dealingss and strengthen legislative support peculiarly on foreign policy issues.

Hagan besides argues that “ whereas alliance edifice concerns authorization over an immediate policy issue, the longer-term political endurance of the governing group [ or single ] is at the bosom of the political jussive mood of retaining power ” .[ 6 ]Foreign policy determination shapers, moving in their coincident function as national and political leaders, at the same time work to keep and heighten the political base necessary to remain in the office.[ 7 ]

The figure links these domestic political jussive moods to foreign policy through the leader ‘s picks of political schemes: ( 1 ) adjustment through bargaining and contention turning away, ( 2 ) insulating foreign policy from domestic political relations through suppressing, purchasing off, or overruling oppositions, and ( 3 ) mobilising support ( and insulating antagonists ) by legalizing the government and its policies. Finally, the pick of action propels foreign policy actions in divergent waies. As argued by Hagan, in adjustment, the determination shaper responds to resistance with restraint in foreign policy. Accommodation denotes bargaining among the participants important in the confirmation and sustained execution of a determination.[ 8 ]Leaderships seeking to incorporate the resistance and retain political power would avoid publically disputed policies and actions that make their authoritiess appear weak in international personal businesss or are closely associated with a widely acknowledged antagonist. Leaderships may besides hold the option to insulate a foreign policy issue from domestic civil orders through the undermentioned actions: disregarding resistance challenges, stamp downing oppositions wholly, or co-opting them with political favours or grants on other policy issues.

Finally, leaders may besides react to domestic force per unit areas through mobilisation wherein they assert their ain legitimacy by heightening their domestic political places. Some mobilisation schemes include: ( 1 ) appealing to patriotism and imperialistic subjects, or “ scapegoating ” or “ bashing ” foreign elements ; ( 2 ) screening that the leaders have a particular capableness and wisdom for keeping the state ‘s security and international position ; and eventually, deviating attending off from dissentious domestic jobs.[ 9 ]

The pick of the undermentioned political schemes propels foreign policy-making in differing waies. Accommodation limits the authorities ‘s ability to react to international force per unit areas or, in instances of political dead end, immobilizes the authorities wholly. Mobilization, on the other manus, amplifies the sensitivity to move on foreign menaces and crises thereby doing it overreact to international force per unit areas.

The analytic model presented earlier is merely an advanced reading of Easton ‘s Political Systems. The inputs being the double domestic jussive moods of edifice policy alliances and retaining political power ; while the political system as the Internal Political Dynamics. New add-on to Easton ‘s Political System is the presentation of the Alternative Political Strategies for the decision-maker and the coincident consequences of each political scheme.


The research method that will be used in roll uping information is content-analysis of secondary informations. The research worker will look in the books, diary articles, working documents, studies, legislative proceedings and on-line database.


The Philippine-American security relationship was a direct merchandise of the Pacific War. On 29 June 1944, the U.S. Congress approved Joint Resolution No. 93 which vested upon the U.S. President the authorization to come in into dialogues with the Filipino Government sing the acquisition of military bases “ as he many deem necessary for the common protection of the Philippine Islands and the United States ” .[ 10 ]On 28 July 1945, Joint Resolution No.4 expressed concurrency with the purpose and policy of the American Congressional Resolution and authorized the Philippine President to negociate with the U.S. President sing the constitution of U.S. military bases in the Philippine district.

The United States and the Philippines enjoys a “ particular ” relationship reflected on the steady growing of their military, political, economic and cultural dealingss over the old ages.[ 11 ]The Philippines besides supported assorted U.S defence enterprises including: overall anti-communist position ; defence of ROC ( Taiwan ) against Chinese onslaughts ; Korean War ; Manila Pact and SEATO ; War on Terrorism, among others. This relationship is besides manifested by the assorted defence understandings between the two states: 1947 Military Bases Agreement, 1947 Military Assistance Agreement, 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, 1954 Manila Pact, and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement.

This paper would try to analyze the function of the Philippine Senate in the foreign policy-making. This paper will supply a historical analysis of the RP-US understandings that can supply comprehensive background to the current VFA. It would besides wish to look into the Legislative Oversight Committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement ( LOVFA ) reconvened in 2009 to reexamine the treaty to put clearer guidelines on how US soldiers accused of offenses should be treated.A

I. 1947 Military Bases Agreement

On 4 July 1946, President Manuel Roxas in his inaugural reference declared that the Philippines would keep close cooperation with the United States in all affairs refering the common defence and security of both states. Reflective of these thoughts, the pact on general dealingss was signed between the Philippines and the United stating that the usage of “ bases, necessary gear of such bases, and the rights theretoaˆ¦for the protection of the United States of America and the Republic of the Philippines ” .[ 12 ]

The Military Bases Agreement ( MBA ) was signed on 14 March 1947 giving “ substance to the thought of defence cooperation ” .[ 13 ]With the MBA, “ the Philippines became the place of the U.S. 13th Air Force in Clark Air Base and of the US Seventh Fleet in Subic ” .[ 14 ]The United States was able to derive entree to the usage of 23 bases and public public-service corporations in the Philippines for a period of 99 old ages. Succeeding negations however, brought about the return of 17 bases and the decrease of the term of understanding to 25 old ages following the agreement between Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Narciso Ramos and U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk on 16 September 1966.

II. 1947 Military Assistance Agreement

The Military Aid Agreement ( MAA ) was signed by President Manuel Roxas and US Ambassador Paul McNutt on 21 March 1947, seven yearss after the decision of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement. The MAA enabled the Philippines to have military aid and preparation from the US for the development of its armed forces. The MAA was aimed at beef uping the national forces of the Philippines through transportation of military equipment, stuff and services, every bit good as forces to help and advice on the proper use of the equipments. The MAA was ratified without a dissentient ballot. The extended American military aid was believed to be mostly responsible for the suppression of the Huk rebellion in the fiftiess. The criticalness of the American military aids stems from the fact that in 1970 the sum of military aid to was about US $ 79.7 million ; relatively equal the defence budget for that twelvemonth.[ 15 ]

III. 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty

The Mutual Defense Treaty was signed on 30 August 1951. This pact “ concretized the military relationship efficaciously established by the MBA between the two states ” .[ 16 ]It highlighted that an onslaught on the districts under legal power of either party ( Philippines and the United States ) is considered common danger, therefore will be addressed in conformity to each authorities ‘s constitutional procedure.

Under an Executive Agreement signed in 1979, about 90 % of the entire countries used by the American forces were returned to the Philippines. The Executive Agreement besides established that the “ bases topic of the Agreement are Philippine military bases over which Philippine crowned head extends ” with the United States merely utilizing “ certain installations and countries within the bases ” .[ 17 ]

With the impending termination of the MBA in 1991, dialogues existed on whether the rental would be extended or to the full terminated. The United States was take a firm standing that it would take them 10 old ages to go forth Clark and other back uping installations. They were besides suggesting a 10-year extension for Subic Naval Base, capable to renewal through the Treaty of Cooperation, Friendship and Security ( TCFS ) . On 15 May 1990, President Cory Aquino proclaimed that the military bases were “ non the psyche of Philippine-American dealingss but it is necessary to set those dealingss in their proper topographic point ” .[ 18 ]Formal dialogues described as the Filipino American Cooperation Talks ( PACT ) started on 18 September 1990. During such clip that dialogues were underway, the Mt. Pinatubo erupted. The 1991 Mt. Pinatubo ‘s eruption paralyzed Central Luzon and caused devastation of major substructures including two major United states bases.

The TCFS ended on 19 July 1991. In the missive of Agreement, the parties agreed on the 10-year extension for Subic, which will so be renewed at the terminal of 10 old ages ; or at the event of the backdown, stage out will get down at the terminal of the 10th twelvemonth. Included in the TCFS is a compensation bundle of US $ 363 million for the first twelvemonth and so US $ 203 for the undermentioned nine old ages.[ 19 ]

In the book written by Former-Senate President Jovito Salonga entitled The Senate that said No: A four-year record of the first post-EDSA senate, he narrates in item the arguments and policy statements made and considered by the senators. From September 2-6, the Senate conducted day-to-day public hearings with resource individuals from the Cabinet, defence functionaries, and experts in Philippine-US dealingss. From September 7-10, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairperson Sen. Leticia Shahani sat to discourse the pact. The plenary arguments started from September 11-15. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted to O.K. Sen. Wigberto Tanada ‘s Resolution No. 1259 of the Non-Concurrence to “ A Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security ” . This Resolution was supported by: Senate President Jovito Salonga and Senators Agapito Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Teofisto Guingona Jr. , Sotero Laurel, Ernesto Herrera, Orlando Mercado, Aquilino Pimentel Jr. , Rene Saguisag, Victor Ziga and Tanada.A There are many factors that lead to the refusal to sign the TCFS. Most of import of which, harmonizing to Former-Senate President Salonga are the commissariats in the 1987 Constitution foregrounding the pursuit of an independent foreign policy, acceptance of a nuclear-free policy, and the acknowledgment of the Senate ‘s responsibility to “ protect and progress the right of the people ” . The Senate rejected the confirmation of the pact amidst the strong support of so Pres. Corazon Aquino. Five yearss before the Filipino Senate gave their determination on the TCFS, President Aquino led a mass March through the rain-soaked streets of Manila to protest a move of the Senate to barricade the confirmation of the pact. Following besides the Senate rejection of the TCFS, the Department of Foreign Affairs ( DFA ) effected an exchange of notes with the US Embassy, stating that the Filipino Government intended “ to convey the Philippine Senate ‘s action to the people in a referendum scheduled to take topographic point subsequently this twelvemonth ( 1991 ) and that the Senate ‘s concurrency is non yet concluding ” .[ 20 ]The Aquino disposal besides fielded Sen. Jose Lima to form a motion for the needed 3 million signatures for the referendum. However, the public reaction to the call for referendum was tepid. The pull-out of American military personnels was on 24 November 1992.

A turnaround of this deadlock came when the US and the Philippines found it imperative to reexamine their confederation and security cooperation after the Chinese enlargement claims in the South China Sea.

IV. Visiting Forces Agreement

On 18 July 1997, U.S. Defense Assistant Secretary for Asia Pacific Dr. Kurt Campbell and the Philippine Desk Officer of the U.S. Department of Defense, Ms. Mary Tighe, met with the Philippine panel, headed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rodolfo Severino Jr. , to interchange notes on the strategic involvements of the two states in the Asia-Pacific part. Undersecretary Severino served as the main negotiant for the Philippines, with the Filipino Embassy in Washington supplying proficient support. The Department of Justice ( DOJ ) , Department of National Defense ( DND ) and National Security Council ( NSC ) were besides represented in every phase of the dialogues. Another unit of ammunition of treatments was held on 22 November 1997, via a teleconferencing with the U.S. panel in Washington ; and on 18 December 1998 through a telephone conference between the Philippine panel in Manila and the U.S. panel in Washington. After Pres. Fidel Ramos approved the positive recommendation of the Cabinet ‘s Cluster E, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo Siazon Jr. and US Ambassador Thomas G. Hubbard signed the VFA in Manila on 10 February 1998.

On 6 October 1998, President Joseph Estrada, transmitted to the Senate for its concurrency the “ Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines Sing the Treatment of United States Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines ” besides known as the Visiting Forces Agreement ( VFA ) , in conformity with Article VII, Section 21 of the Constitution of the Philippines.

The VFA was so referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on National Defense and Security for their articulation survey and deliberations. Between 26 January and 11March 1999, the two commissions hosted six public hearings- three in Manila, one in General Santos City, Angeles City and Cebu City. These Sessionss were participated by over a 100 representatives of political, concern, labour, civic and spiritual groups. The plenary arguments on the VFA started on 3 May 1999 until 27 May 1999 when by a ballot of 18-5 ratified the understanding.

The VFA is a model to advance bilateral defence cooperation between the Philippines and the United States, and to give substance to the 1951 RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. The VFA provides for the mechanism to modulate the fortunes and conditions under which the U.S. armed forces and defence forces may be present in the Philippines. The VFA provides for the:

( a ) Specific demand to ease the admittance of the US forces and their going from the Philippines in connexion with activities covered by the understanding ;

( B ) Clear guidelines on the prosecution of the discourtesies committed by any member of the US armed forces while in the Philippines ;

( degree Celsius ) Precise directives on the importance and exportation of US authorities, stuffs, supplies and other belongings imported into or acquired in the Filipino by or on behalf of the US armed forces in connexion with activities covered by the Agreement ;

( vitamin D ) Explicit ordinances on the entry of US vass, aircraft, and vehicles.

The undermentioned Senators concurred for the confirmation of the VFA: Senate President Marcelo Fernan, Senate President Pro Tempore Blas Ople, Senators Franklin Drilon, Rodolfo Biazon, Francisco Tatad, Renato Cayetano, Teresa Aquino-Oreta, Robert Barbers, Robert Jaworski, Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. , John Osmena, Juan Flavier, Mirriam Defensor-Santiago, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Vicente Sotto III, Ramon Revilla, Anna Dominique Coseteng, and Gregorio Honasan. Merely the following voted to reject the confirmation of the VFA: Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. , Raul Roco, Sergio Osmena III, Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. , and Loren Legarda-Leviste.

The statements for the VFA chiefly focused on its importance for the continued authority of the MDT and the latter ‘s effectivity as a hindrance to possible attackers. On the Joint Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on National Defense and Security, the VFA provides the Armed Forces of the Philippines ( AFP ) with the chance to heighten its defence capablenesss through the U.S. military aid and preparation plans. The periodic joint military exercisings with the U.S. military personnels will enable the AFP to be abreast with the latest schemes and engineerings of modern warfare.

The chief expostulations on the VFA centre on its nature, constitutionality, and its commissariats associating to the condemnable legal power of U.S. military forces. Oppositions of the VFA raised the possibility that U.S. forces may present atomic arms in the state, and contribute to a gradual and systematic debasement of the societal life in the communities where VFA activities will be held.

Following the confirmation of the VFA, the Senate through Resolution No. 18 created a Legislative Oversight Committee to supervise and supervise the execution of the VFA, every bit good as, a Congressional Oversight Committee to supervise and supervise the execution of a plan to place, clean-up and reconstruct sites within the former Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base and their surrounding, that have been contaminated by toxic and risky waste. The Senate besides urged the President to mandate, through appropriate executive issue, the followers:

An Executive Order making a board or committee composed of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary of National Defense, the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, the Secretary of Environment and National Resources, the Secretary of Health and representatives from the private sector and nongovernmental organisations that will measure the workings of the VFA and subject a annual recommendation to the President of the Philippines on whether or non the Agreement continues to function the national involvement ;

A Memorandum Order ( a ) directing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to supervise the activities of the U.S. military forces, for the continuance of all VFA activities in the Philippines, to guarantee that these activities do non go against any of the environmental Torahs of the Philippines and that it shall be the responsibility and duty of the United States of America to set about the clean-up and Restoration of any site found contaminated by toxic and risky wastes caused by its forces, vass or equipment ; ( B ) directing the Bureau of Customs to supervise the temperament of U.S. military vehicles, equipment and other commissariats of the VFA, in order to guarantee the inviolability of our Duty and Custom Torahs ; ( degree Celsius ) directing the Department of Justice to pull appropriate guidelines, in conformity with the VFA, that will forestall struggles in the jurisdictional issues peculiarly in cases when the Philippines should reject a petition for release of legal power ; ( vitamin D ) directing the Department of National Defense to heighten the effectivity of the Mutual Defense Treaty, to get down by explicating a clear, long-run national security scheme ; ( vitamin E ) directing the Department of Health to supervise all exercisings to guarantee to extenuate whatever inauspicious effects these exercisings may hold on the wellness of the people.

In response to the recommendations of the Senate, in 2000, Executive Order No. 199 was signed making the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement. The Commission proctors the execution of all bilateral exercisings under the Mutual Defense Board ( MDB ) and Security Engagement Board ( SEB ) . The MDB and SEB were established to supply the model and mechanism for direct affair and audience between the U.S. and the Philippines to develop and better their common defence and on affairs of non-traditional security concerns such as terrorist act, multinational offenses, nautical security and safety, natural and semisynthetic catastrophes.

The sign language of the VFA signaled the recommencement of assorted military exercisings that include combat manoeuvres, preparation in aircraft care, and equipment fix, civic-action undertakings, and audiences and meetings the Philippine- U.S. Mutual Defense Board.

The blessing of the VFA was based on shared involvements of regional peace and stableness. For the Philippines, this alteration of bosom was probably prompted by the revival of hawkish Islam, because peace negotiations with the MILF had stalled, and the Abu Sayyaf had become bolder.55 The terminal of military regulation in Indonesia, which portions an highly porous maritime boundary line with the Philippines, besides presented another possible beginning of hawkish Islamic activity. Compared to issues of economic cooperation, terrorist act was touchable and demanding critical attending.

The VFA regulates the fortunes and conditions under which U.S. forces may see

the Philippines for bilateral military exercises.57 The sign language of the VFA signaled the recommencement of assorted military exercisings that cover joint/combined land, air, naval, Marine and particular operations constituents. The “ Balikatan ” ( shoulder-to-shoulder ) series, an one-year, large-scale, combined/joint exercising designed to better planning, preparedness and inter-operability conducted between USPACOM and AFP elements, resumed in 2000. The 9/11 onslaughts, nevertheless, constrained the exercising contrivers to suggest a counter-insurgency, counter-terroristoriented “ Balikatan ” exercising in 2002. Codenamed RP-U.S. Exercise “ Balikatan ” 02-1, it was conducted right on the terrorists ‘ doorsill, in Basilan Island and Zamboanga City. American involvement in the Filipino counter-terrorism attempts, nevertheless, was generated by the snatchs of four American citizens by Abu Sayyaf elements in separate incidents in Zamboanga City and Palawan Island. Jeffrey Schilling of California was kidnapped on 28 August 2000, while Sobero and the Burnhams were abducted in May 2001. These incidents gave manner for increased aid from Washington, which was welcomed by the Filipino authorities and was used to hike its counter-terrorism attempts. American forces ‘ engagement in AFP deliverance operations was besides offered. Kansas Congressman Todd Tiahrt in December 2000 said, “ The whole intent of this trip is to seek to acquire our military personnels involved in the deliverance. We have extremely trained, extremely skilled professionals at surety deliverance. ” The Filipino authorities nevertheless disagreed to the proposal because of domestic political force per unit area and

constitutional recoil.

The MLSA, a facilitation understanding for mutual proviso of logistics between the AFP and U.S. forces, was approved in November 2002 particularly for the limited basing of U.S. forces ‘ equipment in the Philippines. Chiefly, its intent is to take down the cost of security cooperation by minimising administrative costs and waste. The MLSA can come to play merely inconjunction with an sanctioned activity under the MDT or the VFA.

U.S.-Philippine joint military exercisings were carried out in Luzon in October. Some 5,000 U.S. and Philippine forces – the U.S. forces from Okinawa – participated in Talon Vision and Philbex 06. In add-on to bettering interoperability, U.S. forces engaged in medical and technology civic action in the small towns environing the preparation countries. U.S. armed forces promotion about the exercisings emphasized their public-service corporation for joint catastrophe alleviation as in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami. Beach landings and simulated counter-insurgency urban warfare were besides constituents of this twelvemonth ‘s exercisings. In November and December a little figure of U.S. trainers worked with Philippine forces in Sulu on little arms tactics. The U.S. besides provided medical services to local communities. Some Mindanao media claimed that the U.S. forces were contending aboard Philippine military personnels against Moro Rebels – an allegation denied by the Filipino authorities.

A new beginning of clash in Philippine-U.S. military personal businesss occurred Nov. 1 when five U.S. Mariness at the terminal of joint exercisings allegedly raped a Filipina in Subic. Leftwing Filipino legislators and human rights groups have used the alleged onslaught to name for the expiration of U.S. exercisings in the Philippines and the repeal of the Visiting Forces Agreement ( VFA ) . A Filipino military spokesman countered that the alleged onslaught was an stray incident and had nil to make with the joint exercisings. Because the U.S. Mariness remain in the detention of the U.S. embassy prior to any test, some Filipino lawgivers argue that the VFA should be amended to necessitate the manus over of U.S. military personnels accused of serious offense to Philippine governments.

The Philippine president ‘s office, reacting to public unfavorable judgment of the VFA, agreed in November to reexamine commissariats of the understanding associating to the detention of U.S. military forces accused of offenses prior to test. Part of the job in amending the understanding is that the VFA was signed in Washington as an executive understanding, but in Manila the understanding was ratified by the Filipino Senate as a pact. Any alteration would, hence, have to be submitted to the Philippine Senate, therefore reopening the VFA ‘s hereafter. The Philippines requested detention of the accused Mariness in late November, but as of December 2005, they were still held by the U.S. embassy.


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