Manila: A group of left-wing Philippine lawmakers petitioned the Supreme Court to immediately halt a new defense pact with the United States, saying it was barred by the constitution.

U.S. President Obama walks out to speak to military troops at Fort Bonifacio Gymnasium in ManilaThe petition by members of the lower house of Congress was the second legal challenge this week to the pact, and is bound to draw attention to President Benigno Aquino’s battles with the courts.

The courts have blocked many of the government’s reforms since Aquino came to power in 2010, including a landmark law creating a truth commission to examine the wrongdoings of past administrations.

Manila and Washington last month signed a new Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to allow U.S. forces wider access to local bases and construct facilities to store logistics for maritime security and disaster operations.                            Reuters