By Mario Casayuran
Friendly countries such as Japan can do a quiet job of bringing the Philippines and the United States together whose relations had become shaky after President Duterte unilaterally abrogated the 21-year-old PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), former Senate Majority Leader Francisco ‘’Kit’’ Tatad said on Thursday.
Tatad said this during a public hearing by the Senate foreign relations committee chaired by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on a Senate resolution ‘’expressing the sense of the Senate that termination of, or withdrawal from, treaties and international agreements concurred in by the Senate shall be valid and effective only upon concurrence of the Senate.‘’
He said it is now an opportune time for the Philippines and the US to sit down together for a bilateral review of their overall relationship and determine the most desirable course their relations will take.
Tatad said the Philippines should seize the moment but the first step towards that direction is not easy.
He suggested that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can do the quiet job of bringing US President Trump and President Duterte together.
The “mediating’’ job, according to Tatad, might be difficult because President Trump is facing a presidential re-election while President Duterte has his own internal problems to attend to.
“We need to take a broader look at our relations with the US which has become home to millions of Filipinos,’’ he added.
Tatad said the power of the President is granted, but it is not unlimited or absolute.
“It must submit to the bounds of reason and good sense. We cannot question the patriotism of the President.’’ he said.
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