PNP defends arrest of UP professor

Janvic Mateo, Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
PNP defends arrest of UP professor
Professor Dr. Melania Flores conducts a press conference in UP Diliman on Tuesday after being released from the custody of Quezon City Police Department-Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD - CIDU) in Camp Karingal on February 7, 2023.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) hit back yesterday at the University of the Philippines for questioning the arrest of UP professor and unionist Melania Flores.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said UP professors should not use Flores’ arrest in their favor.

“Let us not overstretch the issue. This is not an attack on freedom of expression or academic freedom for that matter,” Fajardo told reporters.

She said the arrest of Flores by operatives of the Quezon City Police District was part of a judicial process, noting that the professor has a warrant of arrest for violating the Social Security System (SSS) Law.

Flores is accused of non-payment of SSS employer contributions for her helper. Flores said the helper has not been her employee since 2013, and that she had cleared this with the SSS.

She also said she was not aware of any complaint filed against her. Flores was freed on Monday after posting P72,000 bail.

“There is nothing illegal in her arrest.  It is based on a warrant issued by the court,” Fajardo said.

UP Diliman chancelor Fidel Nemenzo said Flores’ arrest at her home in the university premises was a brazen disregard of the 1992 agreement between UP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which sets up protocols in the conduct of military and police operations within their campuses.

Under the accord, state security forces should give prior notice to UP administration of such operations.

Fajardo said there was a previous attempt to arrest Flores, but police officers were not able to serve the warrant issued in November 2021, which prompted the court to issue an alias warrant in September last year.

She said they are investigating if there was coordination with UP on the first attempt to arrest Flores.

Fajardo said it is about time to review the UP-DILG accord and revisit its provisions.

New UP president

Meanwhile, lawyer Angelo Jimenez will formally take over as the 22nd UP president tomorrow.

Jimenez, a two-time member of the UP Board of Regents, took his oath before Commission on Higher Education Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III on Tuesday.

A turnover ceremony, which will be attended by outgoing UP president Danilo Concepcion and other university officials, will be held at UP Diliman tomorrow.



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