Did Harry Roque just cancel the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and US?

USS John S. Stennis passes through the Straits of Luzon in 2016. [Phuto by USNavy, via dailymail.co.uk]

By Joe America

Did Harry Roque misspeak at today’s press conference when he said the Philippines would not help defend US forces if the US and China entered into armed conflict in the West Philippine Sea?

Or did he misspeak when he said the Philippines abides by all its agreements with the US, including the Mutual Defense Treaty?

He can’t have it both ways because the defense treaty is MUTUAL, requiring each to come to the aid of the other.

ARTICLE V. For purposes of ARTICLE IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

Now the Treaty gives both sides an ‘out’ by saying actions must be in accordance with respective constitutional processes:

ARTICLE IV. Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes. . . .

The Philippine Constitution, written in 1987, well after the 1951 defense agreement, does not allow the Philippines to engage in war. So the Philippines can withhold its armed forces from battle but remain true to the Treaty.

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

Would the Philippines help rescue American sailors from a sunken ship? Would the Philippines open her hospitals to wounded troops? That is thrown into question.

What we are really talking about is the principle here, or good faith between the two treaty partners. What are Philippine allegiances TO America?

It seems clear to me that the Philippines, with the statement from Roque, has ‘cut and run’ from its treaty obligations.

Filipinos are officially no longer willing to crawl into the foxhole with Americans.

I trust US officials took note of the remarks and recognize that the Mutual Defense Treaty is worthless. The US cannot rely upon the Philippines to assist in any way, even if the objective is to keep Philippine seas free and open. And sovereign.

You don’t have a contract if both parties will not, in good faith, understand, respect, and live up to the obligations entered into.


111 Responses to “Did Harry Roque just cancel the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and US?”
  1. I guess to many Filipinos it is just like the way Grace Poe took her US citizenship oath.

    Or like President Duterte views the Constitution: a mere piece of paper.

    Good luck to them in the arms of China.

  2. Vhin AB says:

    Most probably, Sec. Roque will explain his statement and tell the people that he was just misunderstood. Then just blame the critics like what Bong Go did in the Senate hearing as the standard procedure in getting an answer to a legitimate inquiries.

  3. karlgarcia says:


    Before he said that because WPS is not part of the treaty, US would not help us.
    He downplayed Obama’s statements that the treaty is iron clad and wanted more.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I am sure Sec Cayetano would disagree with the Former DFA Sec Del Rosario.

      Below are opinions of Roque on whether the Pacific Ocean covers WPS
      (based from the link above)

      West Philippine Sea po ay hindi metropolitan territory. Malayo po yan sa ating archipelago at saka hindi po siya nasa Pacific,” he said.
      “So inulit lang po niya (Obama) yung nakasaad sa Mutual Defense Treaty na alam naman po natin na hindi ma-iinvoke pagdating diyan sa sigalot sa West Philippine Sea,” he added.

      The lawyer’s statement, however, runs counter to that of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which said that the Pacific area covers the West Philippine Sea.
      “In 1999, in a diplomatic letter, the United States affirmed that the South China Sea is considered as part of the Pacific area,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    Per Duterte the baseswill be used against the US and not against us. ( Whew,what a relief!(sarcasm))


  5. It should be noted that Bong Go got a lot of backing from the administration, the Senate and DDS during the frigate deal probe. I did not notice any fanfare about the AFP. I also read that JV Ejercito wants the AFP to be probed further for the frigate deal but no mention of BG. Together with PRD’s announcement of the possibility of sending the military for training in China, one has to question the motivation and reason why those who are supposed to protect Filipinos are being led to the lion’s den. Is the military being castrated like other lawful/constitutional institutions of PH?

    BTW, methinks that Pia Ranada was stopped by PSG on PRD’s order because she had the gal to interview what appears to be BG’s supporters but their ignorance of the issue they are supposedly defending gave the impression that they might be “hakots.”

    • *gall to interview

      May I have an “arghh pack,” please…

      • edgar lores says:


      • karlgarcia says:

        I will share my unli-pack with you.

      • We have a 24 pack available to all who have written at least one article here. Lucky you. 🙂

        • Sup says:

          i did write 2 now……still researching part 3….


        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Thank you.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          I tell You guys in TSoH, words strike me as like people. Class is not a monopolize quality of the rich and mighty. This Society of rich and poor, literates and illiterates HAVE CLASS. Until the time history makes it the domain of classics. Some holes are actually trenches longer than foxholes of pedestrians and mediocres regardless of their wealth, education and power. Jackasses, Pricks and Creeps are peas in the same pods, wormed apples under apple trees growing in swamps that need to be drained.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            after writing the paragraph, the sentences can be
            re arranged into fake verse or true poem and what’s
            the word for that?

            I tell You guys in TSoH
            words strike me as like people.
            Class is not a monopolize quality
            of the rich and mighty.

            This Society of rich and poor,
            literates and illiterates HAVE CLASS.
            Until the time history makes it
            the domain of classics.

            Some holes unlike TSoH
            are actually trenches longer
            than foxholes of pedestrians
            and mediocres regardless of their
            wealth, education and power.

            Jackasses, Pricks and Creeps are
            peas in the same pods, wormed apples
            under apple trees growing in swamps
            that need to be drained.

            but I know it takes longer time
            to convert poetry into essays.
            Math is poetry,
            Essay is physics;
            if you believe Albert Einstein.

    • chemrock says:

      Trillane’ power point presentationin the Senate inquiry sets the time line for a proper perspective of Bong Go’s action. I’m sure Trillanes will return to this time line as he grills BG later on. I can see Trillanes has purpose, objective, and process in his approach. He obviously has spent time studying and evalutaing the evidences he had. It’s also obvious that he has support within the Duterte admin for access to materials. Compare Trillanes performance to the other senators, notably Sotto, Poe, Pacquiao, Zubiri, and Legarda, the foursome represent part of the problems of Philippines..

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        I have no doubt that Trillanes will put the probe in proper perspective. I am grateful that he is unrelenting in his quest for truth and justice in these trying times. The trapos in the Senate makes me cringe. They leave such a bad taste in my mouth that I often have this overwhelming urge to spit when they open their pieholes.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I wanted to coment but fir some reasons like knowing some in the TWG like the project manager who was the former aide-de-camp of my dad when he was still a Lt Sg, I also know the country rep of HHI, so many reasons why I am in a need to know basis.

        My dad heard the sides of the Navy higher ups the day The former FOIC was relieved.
        My dad is so-invested in this modernization program from legislation to its implementation.

        On Bong Go, I guess Zubiri would not want him to be disturbed anymore because he has already vouched for him.
        They must squeeeze this Usec LaO guy for having amnesia about the the Korean complainants.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          I am not referring to or targetting any particular person, just being front of a masteral class in Human Relations Theory of Management pontificating like a zealot to his students. Some people in the workplace are like dogs natural, loyal and efficient.

          The master just whistles, the dependable, highly motivated hound comes rushing with tail wagging and fulfill any command. This situation is common in autocratic bureaucracies. In democratic sweatshops SOPs are written down as bases of work behaviour so the dog master just watches with approval and seldom whistles.

        • The government needs greater transparency and accountability in all of their transactions (unless it involves national security) because they owe that to the people of PH. They should look at it as a cost effective measure since no Senate probe will be needed and corruption will be abated.

          Trillanes had hit it on the head when he coined the word “comite de absuelto.” The members of the legislative branch are becoming bolder in their pandering to the executive branch.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Many blogs and commentaries have been written by Joe about Duterte’s threat to democracy.


    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      Karl there are more than hundreds of breeds of them from pitbulls, Dobermans, to German Shepherds, to poodles and chiuahuas but sorry JoeAm isn’t one of the breed; Joe isn’t a dog.

  7. Aida mapoy says:

    Love your brilliant writings.

  8. Thomas Friedman wrote a hard hitting opinion piece directed at the POTUS. I find that if one substitutes the name of a country in Asia for Russia and PRD for Trump, and some domestic variables for the American one, the US situation could be a dead ringer of PH’s, IMHO.

    My guess is what Trump is hiding has to do with money. It’s something about his financial ties to business elites tied to the Kremlin. They may own a big stake in him. Who can forget that quote from his son Donald Trump Jr. from back in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets.” They may own our president.

    But whatever it is, Trump is either trying so hard to hide it or is so naïve about Russia that he is ready to not only resist mounting a proper defense of our democracy, he’s actually ready to undermine some of our most important institutions, the F.B.I. and Justice Department, to keep his compromised status hidden.

    That must not be tolerated. This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.

    • Hmmm… Can you all see the NYT link?

    • NHerrera says:


      Still, “follow the money” is a wise thing to do for investigators. I do not know about others but my sense is that the Mueller’s Investigators are avidly doing that.

      Mueller seems to be pouncing on the weaker guys — Gates for example is in some sort of financial trouble — guys with lesser clout, as they go up the totem pole. Manafort seems standing fast for now. But with the looming negotiated plea of Gates over, and the revelation that may uncover, Manofort may get unsettled and thus make his own plea. Now Kushner is being pursued more avidly, I understand.

      • NHerrera says:

        Friedman in that NYT article puts his message across sharply, I believe, and to avoid any complication, he uses the technique of “either he is this or he is that.”

      • I’ll say with certainty that the whole Trump family’s (except the minors) past activities/financial trails are being scrutinized for good reason.

        It is sad that the checks and balances in PH do not work as well as in the US.

        “Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power. ”

        ~ P. J. O’Rourke

  9. NHerrera says:


    The geopolitical imperatives of the countries — US, China, Russia, North Korea, South and Japan — are well described in the short article (of the link) for a layman. I wonder if the countries’ top national security organizations greatly differ from the main thrusts of the article.

    I am intrigued by the author’s analysis of the situation from China’s viewpoint — like a heads I wind, tails you lose situation. If there is a substance to what the article describes of China, there is no wonder then the good feeling China has: being on a roll under Xi, given his recent elevation to the stature of Mao.


    • edgar lores says:

      NHerrera, thanks.

      Indeed, China is on a roll and now challenging India in a bid to dominate the Indian Ocean after owning the South China Sea.


      • karlgarcia says:

        If Indian cean is next then they must be lobbying for the implementation of the Thai canal. It will be a short cut to the Indian ocean.


        • NHerrera says:

          karl, I note that the cost and environmental concerns of the Thai Canal have put the implementation idea on hold, although the concept has been studied and talked about for sometime;

          As long as we are talking geopolitics, note that of the seven countries with large geographical size — Russia, China, USA, Australia, India, Canada and Brazil — China with its massive population, economy, growth and wealth is close to having a big say in the Oceans close to it through which a sizeable world trade passes:

          – West Pacific Ocean and its relation to South China Sea, courtesy among others, of its most recent BFF, the PH;

          – Indian Ocean, via Bay of Bengal, and so China is working mightily to make Myanmar also its BFF.

          Pakistan of course is a BFF. The map reveals that Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar and the Indian Ocean surrounds India rather nicely.

          (Amazing how the google map gives one a pretense of geopolitical knowledge, although truly, I am but a Grade 1 pupil here, karl.)

          • karlgarcia says:

            If you are Grade 1 I am at toddler day care.
            The canal’s non implemention may also be due to the Muslim populated Southern Thailand, because they might want to secede and that would be a major headache.

  10. Sup says:

    O.T. as usual…
    So…The Philippine dynasties can make it even ”worse” if they like… 🙂

    Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of the New Light clinic in Thailand that recruited some of the babies’ surrogate mothers, told the AP in 2014 that Shigeta told her “he wanted 10 to 15 babies a year and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he’s dead.” She said Shigeta also told her that he wanted to run in an election and win by using his big family for voting.


  11. chemrock says:

    The Kra Canal is not viable for various reasons. Not to take up too much time as a side issue here, some of my points in brief are :

    1. Saves only 1,200 nautical miles or 2 days (one way trip) – cost benefits are not exciting. Question of Fuel savings vs canal fees. Panama Canal fees for container vessels for example — anything from $400,000 to $1,000,000. Mind you, Mind you, Panama canal cost is almost all written off, except for some recent expansion. Kra canal will be all new investments at today’s cost.

    2. Possible for fuel tankers — but consider this — one way cargo loaded, return trip empty.

    3. For other cargoes — you need to understand the shipping industry. Shipping companies don’t make money from long hauls. It’s transhipment that makes money. So vessels coming through the Malacca straits tranship at a port in Thailand, or 2 other ports in Malaysia, and mostly in Singapore. ( Spore is a premier entreport port)

    4. Politics — the Kra canal will cut-off the southern parts of Thailand. That’s where the Muslim hotbed is. Thailand fears Malaysian Muslim influence will grow. Seccessionist movements will strengthen. This is the govt’s greatest fear.

    The call for the Kra canal project has been unsolicited proposals from private sectors all along. The govt does not support it. This time round, the call is by a group of military related people. Basically out for finder’s fess. Perhaps they took a cue from the ex Premier Shinawatra. He pushed for the Kra project, Rumour has it a jittery Singapore government had to grease his hands to get him to abandon the project. How was he accommodated? Singapore Inc bought over Shinawatra Telecommunications at a hefty premium.

  12. Sup says:

    Manila business club about expensive China loan…

  13. andrewlim8 says:

    Harry Roque is really funny. He finds Rappler’s reporter rude and uses the analogy of a “rude house guest” but doesn’t find anything wrong with China building all those military infrastructure in our garden. ha ha ha 🙂

    Filipinos not allowed in Philippines, Chinese pwede!

    Filipinos will die in the drug war, Chinese hindi pwede!

  14. NHerrera says:


    Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy reportedly said that Rappler reporter Pia Ranada — who was banned from covering a Palace event — should be thankful that PSG personnel did not harm her.

    “Whatever Rappler’s offense is, the PSG had no right to harm Rappler’s people nor threaten them,” Lorenzana said in a text message to one of the Camp Aguinaldo reporters when asked to comment on the incident.


    Methinks the habits of the Boss is infectious. Thank goodness there are still highly-placed people in the Armed Forces who have manners.

    • Dagon has doubled down on his criticism of Rappler, so clearly he is playing politics, not principle. It suggests that some parts of the military are as constitutionally corrupt as other arms of government.

  15. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Considerable deaths in Europe each year came from Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) coming from diesel engine pollution. In Germany a sizeable percentage came from VW diesel-fueled cars.

    My comment: to the elderly on a pilgrimage to Italy, be careful — after the Vatican grounds, better confine most of your stay there in your hotel. Pero sayang ang pera kung hindi papasyal. Ingat lang. (See NO2 pollution indication in the picture below.)


    • karlgarcia says:

      Here in the Philippines our jeepney secrtor is complaining about tanggal bulok, tanggal usok.
      That is a program, I agree with, the thing is , walking is the only alternative if we don’t have a mass transport system.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Before the TRAIN, the car sellers did a gimik to promote panic buying of cars because of Train law.
        The good effect of train law will be less cars, but banks would make it affordable somehow, so problem is not solved.

        Back to air pollution in the Philippines.


        • NHerrera says:

          The link is to an article titled:

          AIR QUALITY IN THE PHILIPPINES (2008-2015)

          I only rapidly scanned the pages. There is a lot of information in that link.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        When the price of gasoline was 25 centavos per liter (P 0.25 I was grade six) jeepney drivers (ACs) will refuel costing them Dos Singkwenta (P 2.50 for 10 liters). No problem then of tanggal bulok, tanggal usok) of corrupt officials este pollution. The price per liter now is about P52.00 (P520.00 per 10 liters) which is not so shocking and awesome to twenty-year olds.


        Economists will ask what and how much is the cost of the benefit that is expected of the change: loss of jobs for drivers, gasoline station attendants, need to replace the services, etc. may be 10 more etcetera. Will the change be feasible (do feasibility studies)? Is this for real or for show to entertain the public by a toliet humor comedian? If the government — like the alleged MANANANGGALs of folklore– shall spend much money on this; how much will it DIVERT and deny Education and Health budgets (concept of alternatives and opportunity cost)?

        If the Father sends his son to college instead of his daughter, will the entire family be better off? I am not an economist so, I will ask them will (1) feasibility studies, (2) cost/benefit analysis, and (3) input-output analysis BE the appropriate planning protocols for so simple a problem like changing the mood of transport from jeepneys to trains or buses to Cadilakad? Physical mobility (and its velocity) of people and goods is a government responsibility and ACCOUNTABILITY.

        Was appropriate planning done for this menial minuscule project by public servants paid for from the toil of sweat and blood of the common people?.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I tried reading and rereading the only way I can pinpoint your point is to do a treasure hunt.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            Right thumb up for that Karl. Mind treasure hunting (treasure for the mind searching) is more rewarding than many things else.The point is some planners really do not plan for such insignificance like the common man’s jeepney, a shame for economists in the government. I was trying to tell people there’s one best way among several solutions.
            Bunglers in the public service are Wakarangs.

          • edgar lores says:

            Karl, you said you agree with the “tangal bulok, tangal usok (TBTU)” program. And you also said there should is no viable mass transport system.

            I believe Popoy is saying that the government should have implemented the TBTU program and planned that mass transport system a long time ago.

  16. Noticed some of your twitter followers disappeared? They are probably bots.

    “Twitter is cracking down on bots after it announced changes to its API that will massively reduce the impact of services that allow links and content to be shared across multiple accounts, i.e. the software that powers Twitter bots.”

    “Overall, it’s a shame. Bots can be great when put to work properly — researchers have come to that very conclusion — but some internet people are inherently bad and bot networks can be used to give them oversized influence and power. For example, Twitter itself has confirmed that there were over 50,000 Russia-linked bots that attempted to interfere with the election.”

    This is bad news to the disinformation army of PH. I would like to know its impact on the influencers on both sides of the political realm.


  17. chemrock says:

    Thuggish reaction to the news about US intelligence report that says the Duterte admin is a big threat to democracy in Philippines goes beyond the cancelling of the mutual defense treaty. Roque and Alvarez came up short of declaring war on the US.

    My challenge to Alvarez — recall all OFWS in the US now.

    • NHerrera says:

      The problem with Alvarez is his credibility. Unfortunately for him lately, his lack of credibility has been magnified by his taking on Duterte’s daughter Sara.

    • Let us see if that will fly. Filipinos in the US will laugh him off or will possibly ask for asylum rather than go back to PH right now. Even immigrants who habitually vacationed in PH are now hesitant to visit the motherland. A lot of them are saying they will go back in four years when the PRD administration is out of office.

  18. madlanglupa says:

    They’re going to give him the extra mile, if only because he’s making them rich and richer everyday from dumping cheap exports.

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