On that day, the Philippine government, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, made an official communication to the United States cancelling the agreement that governs the status of U.S. forces in the Philippines. Paradoxically, the fatal blow to the VFA could come from Washington itself rather than from Manila. Asked about Duterte`s denunciation of the agreement, Trump said, «I don`t mind them wanting to do it. It will save a lot of money. … My opinions are different from the others. Trump`s statement underscores his general lack of esteem for international agreements and alliances in favor of his «America First» policy. However, the two leaders spoke on 19 April and it was not known whether the VFA was running. Whatever happens, the fate of the VFA will determine the tone of the Alliance at least for the remainder of Duterte`s mandate until 2022, if not beyond.
The second challenge, Suzette Nicolas y Sombilon Vs. Alberto Romulo, et al. / Jovito R. Salonga, et al. Vs. Daniel Smith, et al. / Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, et al. Vs. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al., on 2 January 2007, was re-decided by the Supreme Court on 11 February 2009. In deciding this second challenge, Court 9-4 (with two judges who inhibit) ruled that «the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) concluded on February 10, 1998 between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States is in accordance with the Constitution … The decision continued, particularly with respect to the subic Rape case, «… the Romulo-Kenney agreements of 19 and 22 December 2006 are not in accordance with the VFA and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, respondent, is responsible for negotiating without delay with the representatives of the United States the corresponding agreement on detention centres under the Philippine authorities, in accordance with Article V, para.
VFA, until the status quo is maintained until further decisions of the Court.  UP professor Harry Roque, an adviser to former Senator Jovito Salonga, one of the petitioners in the case, said in a telephone interview about the decision on the consistency of the VFA. «We`re going to appeal… We hope to be able to convince the other judges to join the four dissenters.  A1: no The VFA is an agreement between the two countries to support the Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT). The MDT was established in 1951 between the United States and the Philippines to provide mutual assistance in the event of an attack on foreigners. The United States could also take the opportunity to renegotiate a new, better-value agreement with the Philippines – one that meets President Duterte`s goal of being strong against the United States and the other that gives President Trump the opportunity to mark another important deal, this time a defense deal, with its unique footprint that could advance U.S. interests for years. Although Duterte threatened to outsmart U.S. forces in 2016, he clearly benefits from U.S. military assistance in counterterrorism operations.
Although Duterte threatened to reject U.S. forces in 2016, he also clearly benefits from U.S. military assistance in those operations – and Manila may need more support since 11 of its soldiers have just been killed in the fight against the Terrorist Group Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. The VFA was also important to allow the U.S. military to enter the Philippines in 2013 to provide humanitarian and disaster assistance after Typhoon Haiyan. U.S. security assistance over the past two decades of the VFA`s existence has been considerable and has yielded about $1.3 billion, and annual exercises such as balikate – although this year cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic – greatly increase the Philippine military`s willingness to conduct a series of missions. Indeed, decades of close cooperation between the U.S. and Philippine militaries have led to very favorable views of the United States under the Philippine defense establishment, while China is considered the greatest threat.