THE University of the Philippines (UP) yesterday called out the Armed Forces for erroneously identifying as a UP professor a lecturer who favored the abrogation of the 1989 DND-UP accord that barred government forces from conducting operations inside university campuses without prior notice to school officials.
In a statement, UP said Michael Eric Castillo is no longer connected with the UP as a faculty member after serving as a part-time lecturer at UP Diliman from 2013 to 2017.
“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 from 2013 to 2017. The use of the title of ‘UP Professor’ to refer to him is inaccurate and misleading,” UP said, referring to a social media post of the UP-UP Pilipinas, a social media platform of the Air Force, which featured an interview of Castillo backing the decision of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
In the interview, where he was described as a professor of the university, Castillo questioned why government troops had to be prevented from conducting operations inside UP campuses when that is part of their constitutional mandate. He also echoed the DND’s statement that communist groups have been freely recruiting UP students as members.
The CRS later posted a series of social media cards, bearing the UP logo, on its Facebook page to parrot what Castillo said during his interview with UP-UP Pilipinas.
“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 the official symbols is inappropriate and improper,” UP added.
UP urged the military to take down the posts and explain its use of the UP symbols. “To do otherwise is a disservice to both UP and the AFP,” it added.
Responding to the UP statement, the CRS said it has “no intention to disrespect and mislead the public in providing information,” adding the quotes it lifted from Castillo’s interview were “accurate.”
“The use of the official logo of the University of the Philippines is of good intention and was retrieved from open sources,” the CRS said.
With the UP clarification, the CRS said it will repost the social media cards without the UP seal. Also, it will revise its description of Castillo and refer to him as a UP alumnus and former senior lecturer instead.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed a bill seeking to bar police and military operations in all state universities and colleges (SUC) following the ruckus caused by Lorenzana’s unilateral abrogation of the DND-UP accord.
Senate Bill 2016, which Pangilinan filed last Monday, will be called the Academic Freedom Act and will prohibit police and military presence in SUC campuses without prior notification to their officials.
Pangilinan said all institutions of higher learning, especially SUCs, “should be centers of free thoughts—environments that encourage new thoughts and test old ones.”
“Intellectual liberty is foundational to a democracy. Our nation’s top political, legal, business, economic, civic, and scientific leaders, both past and present, are fruits of the enjoyment of unimpeded and unrestrained academic freedom by institutions of higher learning,” Pangilinan said.
Under the proposed measure, operations by any law enforcement agencies will only be allowed with prior coordination with the administration of the SUCs. Members of the uniformed service, however, may be allowed uncoordinated entry during hot pursuit operations or during emergency situations.
Uniformed personnel will not be barred entry if SUC officials think “that the assistance of uniformed personnel is indispensable to the maintenance of security, peace and order within the SUC premises.”
Likewise, the proposed bill states prior notice must be done with concerned SUC officials when law enforcers will serve search or arrest warrants on any of their students, faculties, employees, or guests.
The same will be observed in the service of orders in connection with the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
In case a student or faculty is arrested, the proposed measure said the subject cannot be held under custodial investigation or detention without prior notice to SUC officials.
Violations of the measure will be considered “grave whenever such non-compliance results in physical injury or death of a student, faculty, employee, or guest of the SUC.”
Pangilinan also said that nothing in the proposed bill should be misunderstood that it is a “prohibition against the enforcement of the laws of the land.”
Yesterday, Pangilinan sponsored before the plenary Senate Resolution 616 , which was filed last January 19, expressing the sense of the Senate “to oppose the unilateral termination of the 1989 UP-DND accord and urge UP and DND to commence a dialogue and find common ground that promotes peace and security, and protects academic freedom, and the pursuit of excellence.”
Aside from Pangilinan, the resolution was signed by Senators Risa Hontiveros, Nancy Binay, Ralph Recto, Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, and Joel Villanueva.
Senators Richard Gordon, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, and Juan Edgardo Angara manifested to be made co-authors of the resolution. – With Raymond Africa