For many American observers, the fact that most indicted criminals end up being tried in a local court and found guilty of the proper functioning of the system; For some observers of the host country, it reinforces the perception that the VFA protects the culprits and makes exceptions more egregious. The U.S. has used the deal at least twice to keep accused military personnel under U.S. jurisdiction.   On January 18, 2006, the U.S. military arrested four soldiers accused of rape while on their way to Subic Bay during their trial in a Philippine court.  They were detained by U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. This has sparked protests from those who believe the agreement is unilateral, damaging and contrary to the sovereignty of the Philippines. [Citation required] The agreement has been characterized in such a way that it grants the United States immunity from prosecution. Military personnel who commit crimes against Filipinos and Filipinos are treated as second-class citizens in their own country.   Because of these problems, some members of the Philippine Congress considered ending VFA in 2006.
  However, the agreement has not been amended. A visiting agreement (VFA) is an agreement between a country and a foreign nation where military forces are visiting that country. Visiting force agreements are, in their intent, similar to the status of force agreements (SOFAs). Typically, a VFA temporarily covers visiting services, while a SOFA usually covers forces stationed in the host country as well as visiting agents. The presidential palace has hinted that it will settle a Supreme Court decision in this matter. The VFA also provides for a mutual or reciprocal agreement signed on 9 October 1998. This Agreement applies to Philippine personnel who are temporarily sent to the United States. Beyond this reading of the tea leaves, Duterte may not, in principle, have the sole margin of appreciation to decide the fate of the VFA.
Bipartisan leaders in the Philippine Senate, particularly the Senate president, an ally of Duterte, have filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to verify whether Duterte has the unilateral power to denounce the deal.