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bayan v. exec. sec (zamora) 2000 Bayan vs Zamora G. R. No.

138570 October 10, 2000 Bayan vs Zamora Facts: The United States panel met with the Philippine panel to discussed, among others, the possible elements of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). This resulted to a series of conferences and negotiations which culminated on January 12 and 13, 1998. Thereafter, President Fidel Ramos approved the VFA, which was respectively signed by Secretary Siazon and United States Ambassador Thomas Hubbard. Pres. Joseph Estrada ratified the VFA on October 5, 1998 and on May 27, 1999, the senate approved it by (2/3) votes.

Cause of Action: Petitioners, among others, assert that Sec. 25, Art XVIII of the 1987 constitution is applicable and not Section 21, Article VII. Following the argument of the petitioner, under they provision cited, the foreign military bases, troops, or facilities may be allowed in the Philippines unless the following conditions are sufficiently met: a) it must be a treaty, b) it must be 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 c) recognized as such by the other contracting state. Respondents, on the other hand, argue that Section 21 Article VII is applicable so that, what is requires for such treaty to be valid and effective is the concurrence in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the senate. ISSUE: Is the VFA governed by the provisions of Section 21, Art VII or of Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution? HELD: 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. The Constitution, makes no distinction between transient and permanent. We find nothing in section 25, Article XVIII that requires foreign troops or facilities to be stationed or placed permanently in the Philippines. It is inconsequential whether the United States treats the VFA only as an executive agreement because, under international law, an executive agreement is as binding as a treaty.