Tolentino says Duterte can enter into agreements without Senate concurrence

“As the chief architect of the nation’s foreign policy, the President can enter into executive agreements with other nations for the execution and implementation of the laws crafted by Congress as well as treaties entered into by the state,” Senator Francis Tolentino said in a privilege speech in Senate on July 29.

“These executive agreements, with all due respect, do not require Senate concurrence,”  he added.

“There is no need for this Honorable Body to concur to the alleged oral agreement between our President and Xi Jinping because it is merely an implementation of the provisions of UNCLOS, the Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Stocks Agreement, and the Food and Agricultural Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, among others,” he explained.

Senator Tolentino explained “states must honor the commitments it takes upon itself under the international agreements and treaties regardless of the form used for its execution which may be written, oral, or even implied. There is no restriction on either the form or substance of international agreements.”

However, Senator Franklin Drilon said they cannot tell whether the verbal agreement is in accordance with the Constitution and international laws because they do not have the parameters of the oral agreement.

“If we do not know exactly the parameters of the oral agreement, how can we say that is valid under international law, that it is valid under the Constitution,” Senator Drilon said.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that if a hearing regarding the matter will be constituted they may invite Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr..