Teodoro to law enforcers: Balance security concern with free speech | Inquirer News

Teodoro to law enforcers: Balance security concern with free speech

/ 06:09 PM June 08, 2023

SECOND STINT Newly appointed Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro becomes a “groufie” target following arrival honors welcoming him—again—at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday. Teodoro held the same post during the Arroyo administration. —File picture from GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines —Newly-appointed Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. has called on law enforcers to find balance between their security concerns and people’s right to free speech.

He mentioned this during a press briefing by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Thursday.

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The secretary was asked about the University of the Philippines – Department of National Defense (UP-DND) Accord and past incidents of red-tagging — or the practice of linking persons to communist rebels.

On red-tagging, Teodoro said although it is merely a term, he wants concrete evidence to be the basis of this action.

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“‘Yung red tagging is a nomenclature given naman by current events. Pero kung talagang miyembro naman ng armed group at meron namang ebidensya, we call a spade a spade,” he said.

(Red tagging is a nomenclature given by current events.  But if one is really a member of an armed group and there is sufficient evidence, we call a spade a spade.)

“We’d like to maintain that (trust) kasi tiwala nga ng tao ang importante sa atin. So balanse ‘yan. Pero hindi naman ibig sabihin pababayaan naman natin ang iba na magtago sa likod ng kunyari legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, although all these must be evidence-based at the end of the day,” he noted.

(We’d like to maintain that (trust) because the people’s trust is important to us. So that should be balanced. But that does not mean that we would let people hide behind what seems to be a legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, although all these must be evidence-based at the end of the day.)

On UP-DND Accord, Teodoro said he does not want to meddle in an issue resolved by his predecessor.

The agreement requires the Defense cluster to give UP administration prior notice before conducting any anti-insurgency operations inside the university campuses.

In January 2021, when former president Rodrigo Duterte was in power, DND unilaterally left the accord.

Progressive groups, some UP faculty members and some students had asked the department to recognize the agreement.

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DND exits deal requiring prior notice for counterinsurgency operations in UP campuses 

UP Diliman University Council asks Lorenzana to restore UP-DND accord

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TAGS: DND, red-tagging, Teodoro

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