By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday described as “good move” President Duterte’s threat to scuttle the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) if the United States will not reinstate the canceled US visa of Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa.
“Good move. Visas fall under US Justice Department in the Executive Branch. Either they’re serious about US-PH military alliance or not,” Locsin said in a portion of his tweet.
Locsin’s reaction came in the wake of Duterte’s remarks during the distribution of benefits to former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Leyte on Thursday where the Chief Executive gave the US one month to reinstate Dela Rosa’s nullified visa or he will cancel the VFA.
In defending the President’s controversial pronouncement against the US, Locsin said, “They (US) can have De Lima after her trial. In fact they can pass a law making her a US citizen and part of US military so she is covered by VFA.”
VFA refers to an agreement ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999 that allows US troops to be stationed in the country on a temporary basis.
Described by Washington as an “Executive Agreement”, the VFA did not require the approval of the US Senate.
Locsin’s view differed from the position made by Senator Panfilo Lacson who called Duterte’s statement “unfortunate and unnecessary” saying there is no connection between terminating a bilateral agreement over a canceled US visa of Dela Rosa.
“A US visa is a conditional authorization granted to a foreigner. It may be canceled without explanation or justification,” Lacson said in a social media post Thursday night.