SC justices split on US defense aid in sea row


MalacaÑang has found an ally in Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in defending the legality and benefits of its controversial Philippine-United States Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) when she said that the country needs the help of the US to improve the country’s military capability amid its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.


Sereno’s view, however, was contradicted  by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the SC’s  most senior magistrate, who expressed doubts that the US will come to the aid of the Philippines if China evicts the Filipino marines in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

During oral arguments on the petitions filed by former Senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada Jr., Makabayan legislators and civil society groups questioning Edca’s constitutionality on Tuesday, Carpio linked the EDCA to his favorite issue —the territorial dispute of the Philippines with China involving the West Philippine Sea.

“If China evicts our Marines in the West Phil Sea, can we invoke the MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty)?” Carpio asked lawyer Harry Roque, counsel for the petitioner, who answered that the treaty may be invoked.

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