On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.  In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.  On 11 February, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Manila would denounce the US-Philippine Visiting Mission Agreement (VFA), an agreement that allows the US military to move freely to the Philippines and the Philippines. Duterte`s decision was taken in Washington with deep concern about the possible consequences of the Indopapacific Strategy (PDF), which was primarily aimed at countering China`s growing strength. 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.  Apart from this reading of tea leaves, Duterte may not in principle have the sole discretion to decide the fate of the VFA. Senior leaders in the Philippine Senate, particularly the president of the Senate, an ally of Duterte, have launched a petition asking the Supreme Court to ascertain whether Duterte has the unilateral power to denounce the deal. The petition calls for the executive and the legislature to agree on such a decision. Despite the court decision, President Salvador Panelo`s spokesman said: “We will follow the Supreme Court. No matter what the law says, we will follow. However, the Supreme Court tends to favour Duterte. Duterte`s cabinet also appear to have serious reservations about his VFA decision. They tried to discuss their concerns with him cautiously, but they understood that they probably will not change their minds.