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Senate adopts resolution for UP, DND dialogue
Adopted was Senate Resolution 616 signed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sens. Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Richard Gordon, Francis Pangilinan and Joel Villanueva.
Official Gazette , file

Senate adopts resolution for UP, DND dialogue

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate yesterday adopted a resolution welcoming a move of the Department of National Defense to seek a dialogue with the University of the Philippines regarding the scrapping of the UP-DND accord that bans the presence of military and police personnel in the state university’s campuses without prior consultation.

Adopted was Senate Resolution 616 signed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sens. Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Richard Gordon, Francis Pangilinan and Joel Villanueva.

The rest of the senators were made co-authors of the resolution prior to its adoption.

“We really need to have a dialogue. The problem is growing bigger. I think we can resolve this issue in a free and open dialogue,” Pangilinan said in sponsoring the resolution before it was adopted.

The resolution originally sought to express the opposition of the chamber to the move of the DND to unilaterally scrap the agreement.

Senators noted some major developments in the controversy that transpired following the filing of the resolution last week.

Among these developments are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s heeding the call for a dialogue, the public apology of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for erroneously red-tagging some UP alumni and the allegations of Army Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. that the country’s top universities were recruitment grounds for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

In a joint statement, the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas described Parlade’s allegations as “irresponsibly cast without proof.”

Pangilinan suggested the dialogue should include officials of 18 universities tagged by Parlade.

The senator also filed Senate Bill 2016 or the proposed Academic Freedom Act of 2021, which aims to protect and guarantee academic freedom by requiring prior notification before police action inside public campuses.

Socmed post questioned

As this developed, former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales questioned before the SC a post on social media made by a certain Antonio Parlade.

Carpio and Morales said the post might “intimidate” petitioners opposing the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA).

On Monday, Carpio submitted to the SC a four-page manifestation and motion on the possible “intimidation” in time for the holding of oral arguments on the ATA on Feb. 2.

On Jan. 16, the petitioners found a Facebook post under the name “Antonio Parlade,” which carried a message directed against those assailing Republic Act 11479 or the ATA.

The petitioners sought a confirmation if the Facebook account belonged to Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., who is chief of the Southern Luzon Command and member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Parlade reports to AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay, who reports to the Anti-Terrorism Council.

Carpio and Morales asked the SC to order the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to submit before Feb. 2 a written explanation confirming whether or not the social media post was an official communication from the government or public office.

They wanted the explanation to include details on the source, circumstances behind and intent of the post.

The OSG represents the respondents in the ATA petitions.

The petitioners wanted to know if the post was “designed to intimidate” since it mentioned “blood debts will be paid.”

Admission

Parlade admitted that the social media post was made by him, but denied that his statement was intimidating or threatening the petitioners.

“Yes, it is my account,” he told The STAR yesterday, noting the contents of his post were vetted with the NTF-STRATCOM and was approved by the cluster.

“We want the readers to understand that people should take seriously the ATL as there is this law, which is now more useful, in punishing terrorists and those who aid them, while not curtailing the liberties of our citizens,” Parlade said.

He clarified that his statement was addressed to progressive party-list group lawmakers or the Makabayan bloc, which he referred to as the “Kamatayan Bloc.”

“Are we silencing dissenters? No. But these

Kamatayan Bloc members have blood in their

hands and they should be made accountable for their actions,” he said.

“They have been recruiting children to join a terrorist organization. They should be

stopped and be put behind bars. The long arm

of the law will soon catch up on them. I’m not a lawyer but is it illegal to say that the law will catch up on these people who have ‘blood debts’ on our people?” he asked.

Parlade said he is not threatening the petitioners of the ATL “but I am warning

these criminals with blood debts in their hands that soon, the law, especially the ATL, will catch up on them.”

Apology

The AFP’s Civil Relations Service (CRS) has apologized for its unauthorized use of the UP logo in a social media post, wherein it also erroneously identified a former lecturer as a current professor of the state-run educational institution.

“The use of the official logo of the University of the Philippines is of good intention and was retrieved from open source,” the AFP-CRS said in a statement issued yesterday.

Responding to a clarification issued by UP, AFP-CRS chief Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr. said it would repost the social cards without the UP seal.

“The CRS has no intention to disrespect and mislead the public in providing information,” the statement read, adding it will also correct the reference it made to Eric Castillo from “current professor to a UP alumnus and former senior lecturer.”

The statement clarified that the quotes used on the AFP-CRS social media posts were accurate as they were lifted from the actual statement made by Castillo during a radio program on Jan. 22, 2021.

The posts referred to the statements made by Castillo, wherein he supposedly defended a decision of the DND to terminate a 1989 accord with UP, which bars the police and the military from entering the campus without permission from school officials.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed concern over the publication by the AFP of a list of UP alumni who were erroneously tagged as members of the New People’s Army.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said such gaffe “continues to be a cause for serious concern,” especially if similar lapses are left unchecked.

In a separate statement, UP Diliman chancellor Fidel Nemenzo said the damage has been done by the list even after it was taken down.

“It is unthinkable that despite the millions of taxpayers’ money poured into military intelligence, the AFP is making such baseless accusations, in the process violating the civil liberties and putting at risk the lives of responsible citizens who are actively contributing to nation-building in their chosen professions,” Nemenzo said.

The UP Diliman executive council reiterated a call for the reinstatement of the UP-DND accord.

“The continuous red-tagging of certain colleges, offices and student organizations of UP Diliman is a result of the decision to unilaterally abrogate the UP-DND Accord,” said the council, which is chaired by Nemenzo and composed of college deans and other university officials.

“This decision is an utter disregard for mutuality and respect, two principles which the accord embodies,” it added. – Evelyn Macairan, Michael Punongbayan, Janvic Mateo, Rhodina Villanueva

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