Philippine Supreme Court declares military deal with U.S. constitutional

by Reuters
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 06:16 GMT

MANILA, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday declared a security deal with the United States constitutional, allowing an increased U.S. military presence in its former colony as tensions rise in the South China Sea.

Manila has long been a staunch U.S. ally and the pact is widely seen as important for both as the Philippines confronts an assertive China in the disputed Spratly archipelago and Washington launches a "pivot" back to Asia.

Voting 10-4, the 15-member court denied the petition of some lawmakers and activists to declare the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) unconstitutional because it surrendered Philippine sovereignty to a foreign power. (Reporting By Manuel Mogato: Editing By Nick Macfie)