The Philippine Supreme Court ordered the government to defend the legality of recent joint military exercises with Japan following a petition by a left-wing political-party.
A Japanese surveillance plane and about 200 troops held two days of joint training with the Philippine navy in May 2015 off the coast of western Palawan, an important island not far from disputed Spratly Islands claimed by six countries, including the Philippines and China.
According to Alliance of Concern Teachers party, “the conduct of military exercises with the Japanese armed forces on our territory without the permission of the Filipino people is a brazen violation of the Constitution against military bases, troops, and facilities in the Philippine soil.” While it believes the Philippines must forge alliance with the other countries to defend the west Philippine Sea against China, this must be done without the sacrificing our sovereignty and within the bounds of the Constitution and existing laws.
The petitioners noted the two military exercise had been conducted in the Philippines since the signing of a memorandum for the partnership: maritime exercises off the coast of Corrigedor Island last May 2015 and the joint exercises at the Antonio Bautista Airbase in Palawan in June 2015.
The group said a mutual defense treaty has yet to be signed for the joint exercises. This was in violation of Section 25, Article XVII of the Constitution.