Duterte not in rush to abrogate VFA - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte is not in a rush to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, Malacanang said on Wednesday.
In a television interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte might further extend the suspension terminating the military deal by another six months once the first suspension expires by December.
"That has the option of being further extended by another six months. So my thinking is, perhaps the President will invoke the second six-month time to finally abrogate the VFA," he said.
"But anyway, what I am saying is, there is no immediate rush for the President to decide because the notification we sent to the Americans gives them at least one year leeway before it’s abrogated," Roque added.
Last June, the Department of Foreign Affairs, following Duterte's instruction, sent a note to the US Embassy in Manila suspending the termination of the VFA after the Philippine government moved to end the military treaty last February.
In the note, the DFA has said the decision was reached "in light of political and other developments in the region."
Duterte previously decided to abolish the VFA following the US decision to cancel the visa of former police chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa.
The US included in its 2020 budget law provision banning Philippine officials involved in the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima as well as those allegedly involved in human rights violations.
Last July, Dela Rosa said the US embassy reached out to him and offered to process his visa. Celerina Monte/DMS