MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) The Senate ratified the
Association of Southeast Asian charter Tuesday by a vote
of 16 for, one against and no abstentions.
The lone negative vote was cast by Minority Leader Aquilino
The ASEAN Charter, which needs the ratification of all
10 member-states of the regional bloc, creates a human
rights body, puts down into writing the obligations of
the members to uphold the United Nations Charter and international
law, and sets the process for the body to take up matters
Pimentel said he cast a "No" voted because of
the human rights situation in military-governed Myanmar.
The charter would give legal personality to ASEAN, which
groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and
Vietnam, as a single intergovernmental organization.
To date, most of the countries have signed the Charter.
Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Administrative
Order No. 229 to expedite the charter's ratification by
the Senate in concurrence with Executive Order No. 459,
series of 1997, "providing for the guidelines in
the negotiation of international agreements and its ratification."