NICOLAS vs ROMULO

29 10 2011

Read case digest here.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 175888               February 11, 2009

SUZETTE NICOLAS y SOMBILON, Petitioner,
vs.
ALBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; RAUL GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Justice; EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary; RONALDO PUNO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government; SERGIO APOSTOL, in his capacity as Presidential Legal Counsel; and L/CPL. DANIEL SMITH, Respondents.

x – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -x

G.R. No. 176051               February 11, 2009

JOVITO R. SALONGA, WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA, JOSE DE LA RAMA, EMILIO C. CAPULONG, H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., FLORIN HILBAY, and BENJAMIN POZON, Petitioners,
vs.
DANIEL SMITH, SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL COUNSEL SERGIO APOSTOL, SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, The Special 16th Division of the COURT OF APPEALS, and all persons acting in their capacity, Respondents.

x – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -x

G.R. No. 176222               February 11, 2009

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN), represented by Dr. Carol Araullo; GABRIELA, represented by Emerenciana de Jesus; BAYAN MUNA, represented by Rep. Satur Ocampo; GABRIELA WOMEN’S PARTY, represented by Rep. Liza Maza; KILUSANG MAYO UNO (KMU), represented by Elmer Labog; KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP), represented by Willy Marbella; LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), represented by Vencer Crisostomo; and THE PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER, represented by Atty. Rachel Pastores, Petitioners,
vs.
PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as concurrent Defense Secretary, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, AND INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO,Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

AZCUNA, J.:

These are petitions for certiorari, etc. as special civil actions and/or for review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith v. Hon. Benjamin T. Pozon, et al., in CA-G.R. SP No. 97212, dated January 2, 2007.

The facts are not disputed.

Respondent Lance Corporal (L/CPL) Daniel Smith is a member of the United States Armed Forces. He was charged with the crime of rape committed against a Filipina, petitioner herein, sometime on November 1, 2005, as follows:

The undersigned accused LCpl. Daniel Smith, Ssgt. Chad Brian Carpentier, Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood and Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr. of the crime of Rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act 8353, upon a complaint under oath filed by Suzette S. Nicolas, which is attached hereto and made an integral part hereof as Annex “A,” committed as follows:

“That on or about the First (1st) day of November 2005, inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused’s (sic), being then members of the United States Marine Corps, except Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr., conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping one another, with lewd design and by means of force, threat and intimidation, with abuse of superior strength and taking advantage of the intoxication of the victim, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sexually abuse and have sexual intercourse with or carnal knowledge of one Suzette S. Nicolas, a 22-year old unmarried woman inside a Starex Van with Plate No. WKF-162, owned by Starways Travel and Tours, with Office address at 8900 P. Victor St., Guadalupe, Makati City, and driven by accused Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr., against the will and consent of the said Suzette S. Nicolas, to her damage and prejudice.

CONTRARY TO LAW.”1

Pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States, entered into on February 10, 1998, the United States, at its request, was granted custody of defendant Smith pending the proceedings.

During the trial, which was transferred from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zambales to the RTC of Makati for security reasons, the United States Government faithfully complied with its undertaking to bring defendant Smith to the trial court every time his presence was required.

On December 4, 2006, the RTC of Makati, following the end of the trial, rendered its Decision, finding defendant Smith guilty, thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, for failure of the prosecution to adduce sufficient evidence against accused S/SGT. CHAD BRIAN CARPENTER, L/CPL. KEITH SILKWOOD AND L/CPL. DOMINIC DUPLANTIS, all of the US Marine Corps assigned at the USS Essex, are hereby ACQUITTED to the crime charged.

The prosecution having presented sufficient evidence against accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH, also of the US Marine Corps at the USS Essex, this Court hereby finds him GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of RAPE defined under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 (a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 8353, and, in accordance with Article 266-B, first paragraph thereof, hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua together with the accessory penalties provided for under Article 41 of the same Code.

Pursuant to Article V, paragraph No. 10, of the Visiting Forces Agreement entered into by the Philippines and the United States, accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH shall serve his sentence in the facilities that shall, thereafter, be agreed upon by appropriate Philippine and United States authorities. Pending agreement on such facilities, accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH is hereby temporarily committed to the Makati City Jail.

Accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH is further sentenced to indemnify complainant SUZETTE S. NICOLAS in the amount of P50,000.00 as compensatory damages plus P50,000.00 as moral damages.

SO ORDERED.2

As a result, the Makati court ordered Smith detained at the Makati jail until further orders.

On December 29, 2006, however, defendant Smith was taken out of the Makati jail by a contingent of Philippine law enforcement agents, purportedly acting under orders of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and brought to a facility for detention under the control of the United States government, provided for under new agreements between the Philippines and the United States, referred to as the Romulo-Kenney Agreement of December 19, 2006 which states:

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America agree that, in accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement signed between our two nations, Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith, United States Marine Corps, be returned to U.S. military custody at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

(Sgd.) Kristie A. Kenney
Representative of the United States
of America

DATE: 12-19-06(Sgd.) Alberto G. Romulo
Representative of the Republic
of the Philippines

DATE: December 19, 2006

and the Romulo-Kenney Agreement of December 22, 2006 which states:

The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and the Embassy of the United States of America agree that, in accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement signed between the two nations, upon transfer of Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith, United States Marine Corps, from the Makati City Jail, he will be detained at the first floor, Rowe (JUSMAG) Building, U.S. Embassy Compound in a room of approximately 10 x 12 square feet. He will be guarded round the clock by U.S. military personnel. The Philippine police and jail authorities, under the direct supervision of the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have access to the place of detention to ensure the United States is in compliance with the terms of the VFA.

The matter was brought before the Court of Appeals which decided on January 2, 2007, as follows:

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, we resolved to DISMISS the petition for having become moot.3

Hence, the present actions.

The petitions were heard on oral arguments on September 19, 2008, after which the parties submitted their memoranda.

Petitioners contend that the Philippines should have custody of defendant L/CPL Smith because, first of all, the VFA is void and unconstitutional.

This issue had been raised before, and this Court resolved in favor of the constitutionality of the VFA. This was in Bayan v. Zamora,4 brought by Bayan, one of petitioners in the present cases.

Against the barriers of res judicata vis-à-vis Bayan, and stare decisis vis-à-vis all the parties, the reversal of the previous ruling is sought on the ground that the issue is of primordial importance, involving the sovereignty of the Republic, as well as a specific mandate of the Constitution.

The provision of the Constitution is Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 which states:

Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

The reason for this provision lies in history and the Philippine experience in regard to the United States military bases in the country.

It will be recalled that under the Philippine Bill of 1902, which laid the basis for the Philippine Commonwealth and, eventually, for the recognition of independence, the United States agreed to cede to the Philippines all the territory it acquired from Spain under the Treaty of Paris, plus a few islands later added to its realm, except certain naval ports and/or military bases and facilities, which the United States retained for itself.

This is noteworthy, because what this means is that Clark and Subic and the other places in the Philippines covered by the RP-US Military Bases Agreement of 1947 were not Philippine territory, as they were excluded from the cession and retained by the US.

Accordingly, the Philippines had no jurisdiction over these bases except to the extent allowed by the United States. Furthermore, the RP-US Military Bases Agreement was never advised for ratification by the United States Senate, a disparity in treatment, because the Philippines regarded it as a treaty and had it concurred in by our Senate.

Subsequently, the United States agreed to turn over these bases to the Philippines; and with the expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991, the territory covered by these bases were finally ceded to the Philippines.

To prevent a recurrence of this experience, the provision in question was adopted in the 1987 Constitution.

The provision is thus designed to ensure that any agreement allowing the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities in Philippine territory shall be equally binding on the Philippines and the foreign sovereign State involved. The idea is to prevent a recurrence of the situation in which the terms and conditions governing the presence of foreign armed forces in our territory were binding upon us but not upon the foreign State.

Applying the provision to the situation involved in these cases, the question is whether or not the presence of US Armed Forces in Philippine territory pursuant to the VFA is allowed “under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate xxx and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”

This Court finds that it is, for two reasons.

First, as held in Bayan v. Zamora,5 the VFA was duly concurred in by the Philippine Senate and has been recognized as a treaty by the United States as attested and certified by the duly authorized representative of the United States government.

The fact that the VFA was not submitted for advice and consent of the United States Senate does not detract from its status as a binding international agreement or treaty recognized by the said State. For this is a matter of internal United States law. Notice can be taken of the internationally known practice by the United States of submitting to its Senate for advice and consent agreements that are policymaking in nature, whereas those that carry out or further implement these policymaking agreements are merely submitted to Congress, under the provisions of the so-called Case–Zablocki Act, within sixty days from ratification.6

The second reason has to do with the relation between the VFA and the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951. This earlier agreement was signed and duly ratified with the concurrence of both the Philippine Senate and the United States Senate.

The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty states:7

MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Signed at Washington, August 30, 1951.

The Parties of this Treaty

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments, and desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific area.

Recalling with mutual pride the historic relationship which brought their two peoples together in a common bond of sympathy and mutual ideals to fight side-by-side against imperialist aggression during the last war.

Desiring to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity and their common determination to defend themselves against external armed attack, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of them stands alone in the Pacific area.

Desiring further to strengthen their present efforts for collective defense for the preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area.

Agreeing that nothing in this present instrument shall be considered or interpreted as in any way or sense altering or diminishing any existing agreements or understandings between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America.

Have agreed as follows:

Article I. The parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relation from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

Article II. In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty, the Parties separately and jointly by self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article III. The Parties, through their Foreign Ministers or their deputies, will consult together from time to time regarding the implementation of this Treaty and whenever in the opinion of either of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either of the Parties is threatened by external armed attack in the Pacific.

Article IV. Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Article V. For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

Article VI. This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article VII. This Treaty shall be ratified by the Republic of the Philippines and the United Nations of America in accordance with their respective constitutional processes and will come into force when instruments of ratification thereof have been exchanged by them at Manila.

Article VIII. This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Either Party may terminate it one year after notice has been given to the other party.

In withness whereof the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty.

Done in duplicate at Washington this thirtieth day of August, 1951.

For the Republic of the Philippines:

(Sgd.) Carlos P. Romulo

(Sgd.) Joaquin M. Elizalde

(Sgd.) Vicente J. Francisco

(Sgd.) Diosdado Macapagal

For the United States of America:

(Sgd.) Dean Acheson

(Sgd.) John Foster Dulles

(Sgd.) Tom Connally

(Sgd.) Alexander Wiley8

Clearly, therefore, joint RP-US military exercises for the purpose of developing the capability to resist an armed attack fall squarely under the provisions of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. The VFA, which is the instrument agreed upon to provide for the joint RP-US military exercises, is simply an implementing agreement to the main RP-US Military Defense Treaty. The Preamble of the VFA states:

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to strengthen international and regional security in the Pacific area;

Reaffirming their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951;

Noting that from time to time elements of the United States armed forces may visit the Republic of the Philippines;

Considering that cooperation between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines promotes their common security interests;

Recognizing the desirability of defining the treatment of United States personnel visiting the Republic of the Philippines;

Have agreed as follows:9

Accordingly, as an implementing agreement of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, it was not necessary to submit the VFA to the US Senate for advice and consent, but merely to the US Congress under the Case–Zablocki Act within 60 days of its ratification. It is for this reason that the US has certified that it recognizes the VFA as a binding international agreement, i.e., a treaty, and this substantially complies with the requirements of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of our Constitution.10

The provision of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of the Constitution, is complied with by virtue of the fact that the presence of the US Armed Forces through the VFA is a presence “allowed under” the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. Since the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty itself has been ratified and concurred in by both the Philippine Senate and the US Senate, there is no violation of the Constitutional provision resulting from such presence.

The VFA being a valid and binding agreement, the parties are required as a matter of international law to abide by its terms and provisions.

The VFA provides that in cases of offenses committed by the members of the US Armed Forces in the Philippines, the following rules apply:

Article V

Criminal Jurisdiction

x x x

6. The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings. United States military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings relating to the offense with which the person has been charged. In extraordinary cases, the Philippine Government shall present its position to the United States Government regarding custody, which the United States Government shall take into full account. In the event Philippine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United States shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. The one year period will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one year period will not include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are delayed because United States authorities, after timely notification by Philippine authorities to arrange for the presence of the accused, fail to do so.

Petitioners contend that these undertakings violate another provision of the Constitution, namely, that providing for the exclusive power of this Court to adopt rules of procedure for all courts in the Philippines (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5]). They argue that to allow the transfer of custody of an accused to a foreign power is to provide for a different rule of procedure for that accused, which also violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution (Art. III, Sec. 1.).

Again, this Court finds no violation of the Constitution.

The equal protection clause is not violated, because there is a substantial basis for a different treatment of a member of a foreign military armed forces allowed to enter our territory and all other accused.11

The rule in international law is that a foreign armed forces allowed to enter one’s territory is immune from local jurisdiction, except to the extent agreed upon. The Status of Forces Agreements involving foreign military units around the world vary in terms and conditions, according to the situation of the parties involved, and reflect their bargaining power. But the principle remains, i.e., the receiving State can exercise jurisdiction over the forces of the sending State only to the extent agreed upon by the parties.12

As a result, the situation involved is not one in which the power of this Court to adopt rules of procedure is curtailed or violated, but rather one in which, as is normally encountered around the world, the laws (including rules of procedure) of one State do not extend or apply – except to the extent agreed upon – to subjects of another State due to the recognition of extraterritorial immunity given to such bodies as visiting foreign armed forces.

Nothing in the Constitution prohibits such agreements recognizing immunity from jurisdiction or some aspects of jurisdiction (such as custody), in relation to long-recognized subjects of such immunity like Heads of State, diplomats and members of the armed forces contingents of a foreign State allowed to enter another State’s territory. On the contrary, the Constitution states that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land. (Art. II, Sec. 2).

Applying, however, the provisions of VFA, the Court finds that there is a different treatment when it comes to detention as against custody. The moment the accused has to be detained, e.g., after conviction, the rule that governs is the following provision of the VFA:

Article V

Criminal Jurisdiction

x x x

Sec. 10. The confinement or detention by Philippine authorities of United States personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippines and United States authorities. United States personnel serving sentences in the Philippines shall have the right to visits and material assistance.

It is clear that the parties to the VFA recognized the difference between custody during the trial and detention after conviction, because they provided for a specific arrangement to cover detention. And this specific arrangement clearly states not only that the detention shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by authorities of both parties, but also that the detention shall be “by Philippine authorities.” Therefore, the Romulo-Kenney Agreements of December 19 and 22, 2006, which are agreements on the detention of the accused in the United States Embassy, are not in accord with the VFA itself because such detention is not “by Philippine authorities.”

Respondents should therefore comply with the VFA and negotiate with representatives of the United States towards an agreement on detention facilities under Philippine authorities as mandated by Art. V, Sec. 10 of the VFA.

Next, the Court addresses the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in Medellin v. Texas ( 552 US ___ No. 06-984, March 25, 2008), which held that treaties entered into by the United States are not automatically part of their domestic law unless these treaties are self-executing or there is an implementing legislation to make them enforceable.

On February 3, 2009, the Court issued a Resolution, thus:

“G.R. No. 175888 (Suzette Nicolas y Sombilon v. Alberto Romulo, et al.); G.R. No. 176051 (Jovito R. Salonga, et al. v. Daniel Smith, et al.); and G.R. No. 176222 (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan [BAYAN], et al. v. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al.).

The parties, including the Solicitor General, are required to submit within three (3) days a Comment/Manifestation on the following points:

1. What is the implication on the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Jose Ernesto Medellin v. Texas, dated March 25, 2008, to the effect that treaty stipulations that are not self-executory can only be enforced pursuant to legislation to carry them into effect; and that, while treaties may comprise international commitments, they are not domestic law unless Congress has enacted implementing statutes or the treaty itself conveys an intention that it be “self-executory” and is ratified on these terms?

2. Whether the VFA is enforceable in the US as domestic law, either because it is self-executory or because there exists legislation to implement it.

3. Whether the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951 was concurred in by the US Senate and, if so, is there proof of the US Senate advice and consent resolution? Peralta, J., no part.”

After deliberation, the Court holds, on these points, as follows:

First, the VFA is a self-executing Agreement, as that term is defined in Medellin itself, because the parties intend its provisions to be enforceable, precisely because the Agreement is intended to carry out obligations and undertakings under the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. As a matter of fact, the VFA has been implemented and executed, with the US faithfully complying with its obligation to produce L/CPL Smith before the court during the trial.

Secondly, the VFA is covered by implementing legislation, namely, the Case-Zablocki Act, USC Sec. 112(b), inasmuch as it is the very purpose and intent of the US Congress that executive agreements registered under this Act within 60 days from their ratification be immediately implemented. The parties to these present cases do not question the fact that the VFA has been registered under the Case-Zablocki Act.

In sum, therefore, the VFA differs from the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Avena decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), subject matter of the Medellin decision. The Convention and the ICJ decision are not self-executing and are not registrable under the Case-Zablocki Act, and thus lack legislative implementing authority.

Finally, the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty was advised and consented to by the US Senate on March 20, 1952, as reflected in the US Congressional Record, 82nd Congress, Second Session, Vol. 98 – Part 2, pp. 2594-2595.

The framers of the Constitution were aware that the application of international law in domestic courts varies from country to country.

As Ward N. Ferdinandusse states in his Treatise, DIRECT APPLICATION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW IN NATIONAL COURTS, some countries require legislation whereas others do not.

It was not the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting Article XVIII, Sec. 25, to require the other contracting State to convert their system to achieve alignment and parity with ours. It was simply required that the treaty be recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State. With that, it becomes for both parties a binding international obligation and the enforcement of that obligation is left to the normal recourse and processes under international law.

Furthermore, as held by the US Supreme Court in Weinberger v. Rossi,13 an executive agreement is a “treaty” within the meaning of that word in international law and constitutes enforceable domestic law vis-à-vis the United States. Thus, the US Supreme Court in Weinberger enforced the provisions of the executive agreement granting preferential employment to Filipinos in the US Bases here.

Accordingly, there are three types of treaties in the American system:

1. Art. II, Sec. 2 treaties – These are advised and consented to by the US Senate in accordance with Art. II, Sec. 2 of the US Constitution.

2. Executive–Congressional Agreements: These are joint agreements of the President and Congress and need not be submitted to the Senate.

3. Sole Executive Agreements. – These are agreements entered into by the President. They are to be submitted to Congress within sixty (60) days of ratification under the provisions of the Case-Zablocki Act, after which they are recognized by the Congress and may be implemented.

As regards the implementation of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, military aid or assistance has been given under it and this can only be done through implementing legislation. The VFA itself is another form of implementation of its provisions.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED, and the Court of Appeals’ Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 97212 dated January 2, 2007 is MODIFIED. The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States, entered into on February 10, 1998, is UPHELD as constitutional, but the Romulo-Kenney Agreements of December 19 and 22, 2006 are DECLARED not in accordance with the VFA, and respondent Secretary of Foreign Affairs is hereby ordered to forthwith negotiate with the United States representatives for the appropriate agreement on detention facilities under Philippine authorities as provided in Art. V, Sec. 10 of the VFA, pending which the status quo shall be maintained until further orders by this Court.

The Court of Appeals is hereby directed to resolve without delay the related matters pending therein, namely, the petition for contempt and the appeal of L/CPL Daniel Smith from the judgment of conviction.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Read case digest here.

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice

DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Read case digest here.

Footnotes

1 Annex “B” of RTC Decision, CA rollo, p. 45.

2 Annex “B” of CA rollo, pp. 36-96.

3 Rollo, pp. 90-127.

4 G.R. No. 138570, October 10, 2000, 342 SCRA 449.

5 Supra, note 4.

6 The Case-Zablocki Act, 1 U.S.C. 112b (a) (1976 ed., Supp IV). See also Weinberger v. Rossi, 456 U.S. 25 (1982), in which the U.S. Supreme Court sustained recognition as a “treaty” of agreements not concurred in by the U.S. Senate.

7 The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on August 30, 1951. Its ratification was advised by the US Senate on March 20, 1952, and the US President ratified the Treaty on April 15, 1952.

The Treaty was concurred in by the RP Senate, S.R. No. 84, May 12, 1952. The Philippine instrument of ratification was signed by the RP President on August 27, 1952. The Agreement entered into force on August 27, 1952 upon the exchange of ratification between the Parties.

This Agreement is published in II DFA TS No. 1, p. 13; 177 UNTS, p. 133; 3 UST 3847-3952. The RP Presidential proclamation of the Agreement, Proc. No. 341, S. 1952, is published in 48 O.G. 4224 (Aug. 1952).

8 Emphasis supplied.

9 Emphasis supplied.

10 See Letter of Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard quoted in Bayan, 342 SCRA 449, 491.

11 See, the summation of the rule on equal protection in Isagani A. Cruz, Constitutional Law, pp. 123-139 (2007), and the authorities cited therein.

12 See Dieter Fleck, Ed., The Handbook of the Law of Visiting Forces , Oxford: 2001.

13 Supra, Note 6.

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