Officials of the University of the Philippines Diliman on Tuesday asserted academic freedom as they denounced the red-tagging that followed the end of the accord that kept the military out of its campuses for three decades.
The UP Diliman Executive Committee said no less than the 1987 Constitution guarantees academic freedom for all institutions of higher education.
The UP community is protesting the unilateral abrogation of the university's 1989 agreement with the Department of National Defense, which barred state forces from entering campus without prior notice to school officials.
University officials also called the attention of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the unauthorized use of the state university's seal, Oblation and colors in the military's campaign against the supposed breeding grounds of communist groups in big colleges in Metro Manila.
Posted on its official website, the UP administration through its Media and Public Relations Office reacted to a recent post going around social media emanating from the AFP’s Civil Relations Service Facebook account, featuring one Michael Eric Castillo, which the post identified as a UP professor.
In a series of Facebook posts, the AFP CRS quoted Castillo, who supposedly expressed his support for the abrogation of the UP-DND agreement.
In one of the posts, Castillo was also quoted saying that a “silent majority” in the UP community was supporting the termination of the accord signed in 1989.
The university stressed it respects and upholds the right of all its constituents to freedom of expression and academic freedom.
“In relation to the said post, we would like to clarify the following: First, as of writing, Mr. Castillo is no longer affiliated with the University as a faculty member. He served as a part-time senior lecturer of UP Diliman from 2013 to 2017. The use of the title of ‘UP Professor’ to refer to him is inaccurate and misleading,” the university said.
“Secondly, this post violates the rules and policies of the University of the Philippines regarding the unauthorized use of the UP seal, the UP Oblation, and the UP colors. This is not an official UP post, and the use of official UP symbols is inappropriate and improper,” it told the AFP.
"We urge that this post be taken down and a clarification on the use of official UP symbols be issued to prevent further misinformation. To do otherwise is a disservice to both UP and the AFP,” it stated.
Retired justices' plea
Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and retired Associate Justice and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Tuesday asked their former colleagues in the 15-member bench to compel the Office of the Solicitor General to explain on whether the statement of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. that Red tags and threatens all the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is the government position.
In a manifestation and motion, petitioners Carpio and Morales also pleaded the SC to require the Solicitor General to give Parlade’s basis for issuing such statements, including details on the source, circumstances behind and intent.
"Petitioners believe this is a matter of serious concern that requires judicial remedy," the two retired SC magistrate said, adding that
Parlade’s post is "designed to intimidate” those critics of the anti-terror law, including those who filed petitions asking the SC to declare RA 11479 as unconstitutional.
"The post also amounts to interference with the Honorable Court's power to administer Justice, as it is directed to the Parties and their counsel days before the matter is heard by the Honorable Court," the two retired SC magistrates lamented.
Parlade, current Commander of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict posted on Facebook, pertinent portion of which states that the individuals, groups, and organizations that oppose the law should be monitored.
Parlade made the post a few days before the deferred January 19 oral argument on the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Law.
'Day of judgment'
Although the post did not mention petitioners Carpio and Morales, portion of Parlade's post stated that the SC “will soon be hearing petitions against the Anti-Terror Law. Let's be watchful of these individuals, groups, and organizations opposing a law that will protect our citizens from terrorists. What's their agenda?"
Carpio and Carpio-Morales are among the more than 37 petitioners seeking to invalidate the anti-terror law.
Parlade's posts also said the petitioners claimed to speak the voice of the people but "these protesters, the noisy and belligerent minority – as if they represent the Filipino people."
"The Day of Judgment is upon you and the Filipino people, who have suffered enough from the malignant hands of the CPP NPA NDF of which you are part of, sit in judgment. Very soon, blood debts will be settled. The long arm of the law will catch up on you, and your supporters," read Parlade's Facebook post.
The two SC magistrates stressed that Parlade's act itself could be considered a violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, particularly Section 4, subparagraph 4 (a) which punishes anyone who "engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person's life…when the purpose of such act, by its nature and context, is to intimidate the general public or a segment thereof, create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear…" as having committed the crime of terrorism.
An opposition leader in the House of Representatives on Tuesday backed the move of Carpio and Carpio-Morales for the Supreme Court to look into the publicly made threats of Parlade against groups questioning the constitutionality of the anti-terror law.
House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said: "We are one with former Justices Carpio and Carpio-Morales in calling out Gen. Antonio Parlade for his continuous but baseless
red-tagging and his veiled threats of violence against groups opposed to the Terror Law especially the Makabayan bloc."
Zarate also said: "The Solicitor General should not only explain his client's threats but also call for a stop to this practice of red tagging and of spreading fake news."
"We hope that the Supreme Court would also see that these types of intimidation became the norm with the enactment of the Terror Law, a dangerous and sinister scheme that should be stopped immediately," Zarate added.