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. Some 319 activities are planned for the year. The absence of the VFA would lead to a drastic reduction in defence operations with the Philippines and a halt to cooperative defence activities in the Philippines, as it provides the legal framework for the presence of US forces in the Philippines. 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.  It is therefore worth going back to the VFA to deal with sovereignty as jurisdiction and custody. A rapid resumption of free-to-air bilateral discussions can serve as a basis for a review of the VFA. The agreement contains various procedural safeguards to protect due process rights and prohibit dual threats.  [VIII 2-6] The agreement also exempts Filipino personnel from visa formalities and ensures expedited entry and exit;  [IV] requires the United States to accept Philippine driver`s licenses;  [V] authorizes Philippine personnel to carry weapons in the United States.