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'Simplistic thinking': UP alumni slam post alleging links to rebels
This undated photo shows the Oblation statue in the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City
File photo

'Simplistic thinking': UP alumni slam post alleging links to rebels

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - January 24, 2021 - 3:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — Alumni of the University of the Philippines slammed what it said was the malicious publication of a list of graduates allegedly linked to the New People's Army by a page claiming to be the Armed Forces of the Philippines, citing the possible effects on their personal safety. 

To recall, a Facebook page named “Armed Forces of the Philippines Information Exchange” published a list of 28 supposed UP alumni who, they claimed, went on to join the NPA and were later killed or captured by state forces.

In a statement, lawyer Rafael A.L. Aquino, whose name was among those listed in the post, called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to apologize to himself and the others in the list for its publishing. 

"I was a UP student for twelve straight years, from high school to law school; there was no opportunity for me to be associated in any way with the New People’s Army. Not being NPAto begin with, I was never captured by the military. I also did not have the opportunity to be killed by the military or anyone else; I am very much alive," his statement read. 

"I was an activist in UP and a human rights worker after that, as a member of the Free Legal Assistance Group. I’m now a partner in an Ortigas law firm and have been an active Rotarian for the past 25 years, but still not a member of the NPA," he also said. 

At least two other people whose names were included on the list have publicly denied being affiliated with the NPA, while another six also denied the accusations in a fact-check report by Rappler. They are also, contrary to the page's claim, not dead nor captured by the military. 

The original post has since been taken down, but not before several other pages picked up the material and shared it themselves.

Aquino is one of many lawyers representing petitioners assailing the validity of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act before the Supreme Court, where the same petitions have designated the AFP as a respondent.

"Shortly before this list came out in social media, an article I wrote critical of the DND's unilateral termination of its agreement with UP was published by Rappler," Aquino wrote.  

"With the others in the list, I am owed an apology by the AFP in whose website this list appeared. In these perilous times, this malicious inclusion in such a list is hazardous to our health and safety."

UP fraternity: 'Harebrained' minds trying to vilify alumni with 'simplistic' thinking 

In a separate statement, the Pi Sigma Fraternity Alumni Association Inc. also decried "the attempts of some unscrupulous personalities to link our brotherhood to the communist underground movement."

Pi Sigma, which described itself as "a national brotherhood with chapters all over the Philippines," asserted it was a "progressive, legal and independent brotherhood."

"Certain harebrained personalities are trying to vilify the Fraternity and its traditions by issuing irresponsible and unfounded remarks implicating us to Leftist armed groups. This a big lie, [and] simplistic and very unpatriotic thinking," the statement read. 

"While we take pride that a number of our brods have offered their lives in the past several years in serving the Filipino masses, the Fraternity wants all our members alive to actively help our fellowmen while respecting the rule of law. Joining the revolutionary movement is their personal choice," it added. 

Why does this matter?

  • Peaceful protest actions and demonstrations are typically held within the UP Diliman campus
  • The Commission on Human Rights, also a common site for protesters, is also within the campus' borders 
  • UP grounds have long been a safe haven for activists, as they cannot be arrested on school grounds 
  • With the agreement scrapped, police and military forces can freely enter campuses if they so desire 
  • Other activists who have been red-tagged were later found dead
  • Dela Rosa's colleagues in the Senate have admitted that the practice of red-tagging has led to violence 

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
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