Violations of anti-terror law happening in UP, Parlade claims

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2021 12:44 PM

Students hold a protest against the termination of the UP-DND accord prohibiting police and military from entering the UP campus at the Quezon Hall in Quezon City on Jan. 19, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A top military official on Friday claimed that violations of the anti-terror law were happening in the University of the Philippines, all the more reason that the accord between the state university and defense ministry should be abrogated.

Speaking to ANC's "Matters of Fact," Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, spokesperson of the government's anti-communist task force, said some activities in UP are in aid of the underground movement.

"Like preparing for some activities in the underground. Like the anniversaries of the NPA (New People's Army). Like providing materials for propaganda to destroy the government, to bring down the government. Like printing materials for making bombs. They're all happening in the campuses," he alleged without showing evidence.

The counter-terror law, which critics say grants state forces sweeping powers to address terrorism, was signed in July 2020 despite heavy opposition over fears it could be used as crackdown on dissent.

Among the law's contentious provisions includes warrantless arrest, prolonged detention without charges and the designation of any person or group as terrorists.

Thirty-seven petitions are pending before the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the law.

The controversial military officer, who drew backlash in October last year after red-tagging celebrities such as Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin, also claimed that some UP officials were "sympathetic" to the long-running insurgency.

"What do you expect, especially if many of those authorities are actually sympathetic with this underground organization. By the way, they've been denying there's recruitment in schools," he said.

Asked to clarify if he was referring to school officials, he said, "Well some of them, not all. I recently read this paper, this speech of one of the school presidents and he acknowledged that this activism has been happening ever since and this is normal and UP has been contributing to this cadres."

Parlade said he was not blaming the institution but the "tools they are using to exercise their academic freedom."

"One of those tools that's defective is this. You freely allow your faculty who are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to conduct this subtle training and recruitment of these students. You know that and you are not doing anything about that then that's really a problem. How do I say it? Malaking pagkukulang ito sa gobyerno," he again alleged.

Based on their intelligence gathering, he said the recruitment of the underground movement in state colleges started among freshmen.

"Marami diyan (Many of them) they're from the provinces. Walang kamuwang-muwang dito sa mga nangyayari sa schools (They are innocent from what's happening in schools)," he said.

UP has yet to respond to Parlade's allegations.

Amid fears of militarizing campuses following the abrogation of the 1989 pact between UP and Department of National Defense, Parlade said students, faculty and the UP community had nothing to worry about.

"We are not the military that they know so many years ago. We can't be compared with the military of the Marcos years," he said.

Around 100,000 people were victims of martial law imposed by dictator Ferdinand Marcos, with 3,000 killed, 34,000 tortured and 70,000 arrested, reports from global human rights watchdog Amnesty International show.

Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana unilaterally junked the 1989 accord over allegation UP had become a breeding ground for communists.

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