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PUP studes rap Duterte Youth over threat

MANILA, Philippines — Student leaders of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) claimed that they were threatened by party list group Duterte Youth just hours after they submitted on Wednesday their position paper opposing the possible unilateral abrogation of the school’s 1990 accord with the Department of National Defense (DND).

According to PUP student regent Ellenor Bartolome, one of the campus leaders received a phone call from a staff member of the office of Duterte Youth Rep. Ducielle Cardema demanding that they “take down” a social media post about the position paper.

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“The caller from Duterte Youth told us to take down the post and if we did not do as we were told, they would ‘look for us.’ Their exact words were: ‘Yari kayo sa amin (You’re dead),’” Bartolome said in an interview with the Inquirer on Thursday when her office and the university’s student council filed a complaint against Duterte Youth at the National Bureau of Investigation.

Unaware

But the party list group claimed, on the other hand, that when PUP student leaders presented their position paper in its office, “they were hospitably allowed to enter our Congress office and submit their position paper, they were even allowed to take photos inside and outside the office.”

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“The Duterte Youth party list is not aware of their alleged issue of harassment,” the group said in its statement on Thursday. “If they will continue twisting the hospitality that our office has shown them into their usual leftist propaganda, we will also file the appropriate charges tomorrow.”

Cardema earlier urged the DND to terminate its pact with PUP, a day after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana unilaterally abrogated a similar agreement back in 1989 between the DND and the University of the Philippines (UP) which barred state forces from conducting any operation inside the campuses without prior notice to university officials, except in cases of hot pursuit and similar emergencies.

‘Special treatment’

Cardema also criticized what she called the “special treatment” being given to PUP and UP with their respective agreements with the DND.

Bartolome warned that if the PUP-DND accord, signed by then university president Nemesio Prudente and then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, is terminated, “it will be a manifestation that the government is persistent in its efforts to silence the youth.”

Lorenzana rejected on Thursday a move at the Senate to enact into law the UP-DND agreement.

“I oppose it,” Lorenzana said in a text message, adding that he was prepared to defend his action before the Supreme Court.

Senate Bill No. 2002, filed by Senators Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe, seeks to institutionalize in the UP charter the prohibition on the entry of police and military personnel in the campuses.

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Lorenzana said of the bill, “I think this will not prosper.”

Legal principles

According to State Solicitor Gabriel Villanueva, “requiring prior notice as the agreement dictates violates the rules of court since the rules do not require that prior notice be given to the UP president, chancellor or dean of the unit concerned before a warrant may validly be implemented.”

But Jay Batongbacal, executive associate dean of the UP College of Law, said, “Even though there is no exit clause, it does not mean the validity of the agreement can be decided by one party alone.”

Constitutional law professor Tony La Viña said the agreements with UP and PUP “reflected principles that stand even if [they] have been revoked: academic freedom and UP autonomy.”

UP chancellor Fidel Nemenzo warned that the military was “already testing the postabrogation waters,” after a convoy of military vehicles was seen entering the Diliman Arboretum on Wednesday.

In his statement, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said, “It’s high time that we put an end to a deal which has been taken advantage of by [communist rebels] in perpetuating their deceptive recruitment.” —WITH REPORTS FROM JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE AND NESTOR CORRALES

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TAGS: Department of National Defense, Duterte Youth, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, PUP-DND agreement, Rep. Ducielle Cardema
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