What Went Before: Deal bars police, military ops from UP campuses
On June 30, 1989, then University of the Philippines (UP) president Jose Abueva and then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos forged an agreement protecting the state university from military operations without the knowledge of UP officials.
The document was signed 13 days after agents of the police’s Criminal Investigation Service abducted Donato Continente, an employee of the student publication Philippine Collegian, in front of Vinzons Hall on the UP Diliman campus, in connection with the death of US Army Col. James Rowe, an American military adviser.
It reaffirmed the 1982 Soto-Enrile Accord, signed by UP student leader Sonia Soto and then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, which bars the police and military from entering campuses without prior permission from school officials.
The accord was meant to prevent police and military forces from targeting student and teacher activists for their political beliefs.
Earlier, on Oct. 28, 1981, Ramos, as chief of the Philippine Constabulary and Armed Forces vice chief of staff, issued a memorandum stating that “police authorities should only enter the campus to deal with crimes actually being committed or upon the request of school authorities when such request is justified.”
The 1989 agreement specifically provided that “no member of police may conduct operations on UP campuses without prior coordination with, or as requested by UP authorities.”
It stated that prior notification should be given before serving search and arrest warrants on any UP student, faculty, employee or invited participants in any official UP activity. The same requirement of notification applies to any oral or written “invitation” for questioning and similar purposes.
The agreement limited the entry of military or police personnel in any of the UP campuses or regional units, “except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency” or ordinary transit through the premises.
Members of the military and police “shall not interfere with peaceful protest actions by UP constituents within UP premises,” it said.
In return, “UP officials shall endeavor to strengthen UP’s own security, police, fire-fighting capabilities to leave no vacuum that can be exploited.”
Abueva and Ramos signed the agreement in the presence of then UP faculty regent Francisco Nemenzo and student regent Gonzalo Bongolan, chancellor Ernesto Tabujara, AFP Chief of Staff Renato de Villa and PC-Integrated National Police chief Ramon Montaño.
On Tuesday, Soto, a former national chair of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), slammed the abrogation of the accord for which student leaders “made a stand” 40 years ago.
In an interview with the Inquirer, she said the signing of the document was “significant” because student organizations, councils and campus papers were banned when martial law was declared in 1972. She recalled that student arrests and detention were rampant when military and police were allowed inside campuses.
“The accord acknowledged [students’] rights and signaled the de facto recognition of the student democratic reforms movement led by the LFS at that time,” said Soto, now president and general manager of the regional television CLTV36.
She said she was “sad and anxious” about the DND’s latest action because both agreements were brought about by the democratic reform movements of youth and students. —INQUIRER RESEARCH WITH A REPORT FROM TONETTE OREJAS INQ
Sources: Inquirer Archives, 1989 UP-DND Agreement
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