Police presence spooks UP Diliman campus
University of the Philippines president Danilo L. Concepcion expressed concern over the reported presence of three uniformed and armed policemen at the UP Diliman campus on Wednesday.
According to witnesses, the policemen were looking for student regent Ivy Joy Taroma in her boarding house inside the UP campus but they failed to declare the reason for their visit.
When Taroma didn’t show up, the three uniformed officers reportedly proceeded to Palma Hall to continue their search.
In his letter of inquiry to Philippine National Police Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, Concepcion said the UP community was “deeply alarmed” by the alleged police intrusion.
He asked Albayalde to explain whether certain officials in local districts had authorized such visit and their purpose for doing so.
“Such sudden and uncoordinated intrusions tend to raise concerns about the repression of civil liberties and human rights, and I hope that you will respond to allay those concerns and assure us that these incidents will not recur under your administration,” Concepcion wrote in his letter.
On Friday, PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno Durana said they were not notified by the Quezon City Police District about the presence of policemen inside the UP campus. Albayalde has yet to comment on the incident.
In her Facebook account, Taroma slammed the recent sighting of policemen inside the UP campus.
At 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, she narrated that three uniformed officers in police mobile visited her residence. They were armed and aggressively asked their house help for her whereabouts.
The student activist also expressed concern that the policemen were able to track the place where she was staying.
For Taroma, the incident poses a threat to the safety of students inside the campus, especially student leaders who could easily be targeted by police surveillance.
“Student leaders cannot skirt police surveillance. It has reached a point where they were able to locate us, follow us even to our own homes. Where else can we be safe?” Taroma said.
The UP president also reminded Albayalde about the longstanding agreement among the university, the police, and military authorities to properly coordinate their visits inside the UP campuses to avoid any misunderstandings.
The UP Diliman Police (UDP) acts as an independent police force inside the campus and handles minor incidents and disturbances.
It’s also a protocol for UDP to report any unauthorized presence of state or “outsider” policemen inside the campus.
Under the 1989 Soto-Enrile accord, a tripartite agreement between UP, the Department of National Defense, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, state security forces are barred from entering university premises.
The agreement was signed to prevent police and military forces from targeting student and teacher activists for their political beliefs.
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