Petitioner’s final point revolves around the necessity of the Senate’s concurrence in the Agreement. And without specifically saying so, petitioner would argue that the non-surrender agreement was executed by the President, thru the DFA Secretary, in grave abuse of discretion.
The Court need not delve on and belabor the first portion of the above posture of petitioner, the same having been discussed at length earlier on. As to the second portion, We wish to state that petitioner virtually faults the President for performing, through respondents, a task conferred the President by the Constitution—the power to enter into international agreements.
By constitutional fiat and by the nature of his or her office, the President, as head of state and government, is the sole organ and authority in the external affairs of the country. The Constitution vests in the President the power to enter into international agreements, subject, in appropriate cases, to the required concurrence votes of the Senate. But as earlier indicated, executive agreements may be validly entered into without such concurrence. As the President wields vast powers and influence, her conduct in the external affairs of the nation is, as Bayan would put it, “executive altogether.” The right of the President to enter into or ratify binding executive agreements has been confirmed by long practice.
In thus agreeing to conclude the Agreement thru E/N BFO-028-03, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, represented by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, acted within the scope of the authority and discretion vested in her by the Constitution. At the end of the day, the President––by ratifying, thru her deputies, the non-surrender agreement––did nothing more than discharge a constitutional duty and exercise a prerogative that pertains to her office.
While the issue of ratification of the Rome Statute is not determinative of the other issues raised herein, it may perhaps be pertinent to remind all and sundry that about the time this petition was interposed, such issue of ratification was laid to rest in Pimentel, Jr. v. Office of the Executive Secretary. As the Court emphasized in said case, the power to ratify a treaty, the Statute in that instance, rests with the President, subject to the concurrence of the Senate, whose role relative to the ratification of a treaty is limited merely to concurring in or withholding the ratification. And concomitant with this treaty-making power of the President is his or her prerogative to refuse to submit a treaty to the Senate; or having secured the latter’s consent to the ratification of the treaty, refuse to ratify it. This prerogative, the Court hastened to add, is the President’s alone and cannot be encroached upon via a writ of mandamus. Barring intervening events, then, the Philippines remains to be just a signatory to the Rome Statute. Under Art. 125 thereof, the final acts required to complete the treaty process and, thus, bring it into force, insofar as thePhilippines is concerned, have yet to be done.