Palace: State U profs are free to speak, but…
President Duterte respects freedom of expression, but professors of state universities and colleges (SUC) should remember that as public servants, they are bound by civil service laws.
This was the reaction of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday when asked about Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) officer in charge Prospero de Vera’s warning to SUC officials that they should refrain from making statements supporting calls for the President’s ouster.
“But while we have freedom of expression, let us not forget we are employees of the government in SUCs and because of that, we are covered by civil service laws,” said Roque, a former law professor at the University of the Philippines (UP).
“Let’s exercise our rights, but let’s respect our civil service laws,” he added.
“It’s different when you say you do not agree with policies to urging students to take action, especially if this will cause students to cut classes or [do] anything that would waste … [government] resources,” Roque said.
On Tuesday, De Vera, who also chairs the UP Board of Regents, cautioned SUC officials against taking political positions on issues after faculty members of UP Diliman’s Mechanical Engineering department issued a statement denouncing the Duterte administration’s supposed attacks on Philippine democracy and the rule of law. —Christine O. Avendaño
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