UP Asian Center condemns arrest of worker, notes UP-DILG deal still in play
MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines Asian Center denounced on Tuesday the arrest of an employee in his house at Pook Village A in Quezon City, reminding authorities that deal between UP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was still existent.
In a statement, the UP Asian Center said that the arrest on Monday, said to be made by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police, was not coordinated with school authorities.
“We denounce in no uncertain terms the manner in which our colleague was arrested. Amidst the on-going dialogues between the University and the government, this incident has no place in the UP community,” the UP Asian Center said.
“We thus call on the concerned government agencies, particularly the DILG and the PNP, to coordinate with UP officials, investigate the incident, and hold accountable those responsible for the arrest, which was made in haste, and without any proper coordination or any arrest warrant,” it added.
On Monday, a post on the Facebook page of the UP Office of the Student Regent said that the employee was arrested in Pook Village A by CIDG personnel for supposedly engaging in an online karera, or off-site track betting, which allegedly failed to observe physical distancing.
The Office of the Student Regent said that the employee and his colleague were only released when lawyers intervened in the arrest.
The UP Asian Center confirmed this, warning that the operation might have unnecessarily exposed their colleague’s family to the coronavirus.
“More alarmingly, the police officers deployed excessive use of force — reminiscent of the now-terminated Oplan Tokhang — which could have exacerbated the life-threatening medical condition of our colleague, who recently underwent an operation,” the UP Asian Center explained.
“His and his companions’ warrantless arrest, and the brazen disregard of their constitutionally guaranteed rights exemplify the long record of wanton human rights violations in the country,” it stressed.
INQUIRER.net reached out to CIDG on Monday to confirm whether the incident really happened, but it has yet to reply.
On Tuesday morning, PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said: “The police officers just did their job on the basis of a call from a concerned resident from UP. And if the university wants to complain because the cops did their job in the university compound, it’s their (UP) call.”
The UP-DILG agreement is different from the UP-DND accord that was abrogated last January. However, both deals were meant to safeguard the university by requiring authorities to inform school administrators about any operation inside campuses — except in cases of hot pursuit or other emergencies.
The UP-DILG accord affirms the other agreement, but it focuses on the law enforcement agencies and attached offices under DILG. While the UP-DILG accord was not revoked, both parties agreed to review their deal to make it attuned to the times.
Before this incident, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana drew flak for the unilateral abrogation of the UP-DND accord, even as he insisted that it was only meant to protect the state university from enemies of the state,
In his letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion, he said that the revocation of the agreement was based on recent events involving the alleged recruitment of students into the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.
However, Lorenzana’s move drew fierce criticism from the UP community, including activist groups, students, faculty members, former students, and even government officials — all of them saying that the DND move was intended to discourage dissent.
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