A CABINET cluster will meet on Friday to finalize recommendations on a plan to end an agreement with the US on the deployment of troops and equipment for war games, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Tuesday.
A meeting with the Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces was held on Monday to discuss the proposals, which officials have yet to firm up, he said in a group message.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered government lawyers to expand their study of a plan to end the visiting forces agreement with the US.
Mr. Duterte last week asked the US government to reverse its decision to cancel Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa’s US visa, giving it a month-long ultimatum.
Mr. Dela Rosa, a political ally, last week said the US embassy had canceled his visa. Mr. Duterte’s former police chief led the government’s deadly war on drugs that has killed thousands before he became a senator.
He was also considered to be among those responsible for the detention of Senator Leila M. de Lima, a staunch critic of Mr. Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
Mr. Guevarra earlier said they would study the impact of terminating the VFA on foreign relations, on an enhanced defense cooperation agreement with the US and the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries.
A Cabinet cluster made up of the Justice, Defense and Foreign Affairs departments, Armed Forces, and National Bureau of Investigation would assess the deal, he said.
The Senate foreign relations committee earlier said it would study the planned termination.
The chamber would summon officials from the Foreign Affairs and Defense departments to shed light on the status of the VFA, Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III told dzBB radio on Sunday.
Among other things, the deal allows the US government to retain jurisdiction over American soldiers accused of committing crimes in the Philippines, unless the crimes are “of particular importance” to the Southeast Asian nation. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas