MANILA — The University of the Philippines (UP) Asian Center condemned on Tuesday the arrest of one of its employees in his house on campus in Quezon City, noting that a deal between the university and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that regulates police entry into UP premises, was still in effect.
An earlier Facebook post by the UP Office of the Student Regent said the employee was arrested in his home in Pook Village A on campus on Sunday after he was caught allegedly engaging in “online karera” while failing to observe physical distancing measures.
The employee was eventually released after university lawyers intervened, the student regent added.
In a statement, the UP Asian Center said the arrest was conducted without coordination with the university administration, the UP police, and officials of Barangay UP Campus.
Officers of the Philippine National Police also allegedly used excessive force, “which could have exacerbated the life-threatening medical condition of our colleague, who recently underwent an operation,” the UP Asian Center said.
“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.
The Asian Center also expressed concern that the operation may have exposed its employee and his household to the threat of COVID-19.
In a text message to ABS-CBN News, PNP Spokesperson Police Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said “the police simply responded to a call from a concerned citizen.”
“If UP has claimed of impropriety on the action taken by the police, the DILG advised UP to file their complaint and submit the evidence so that the police can answer it in proper forum,” Usana said.
The pact between the UP and DILG is different from the state university’s accord with the Department of National Defense, which Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana unilaterally abrogated in January.
Both agreements require state forces to give prior notification to the UP administration before conducting operations inside UP campuses, but the UP-DILG deal focuses on law enforcement agencies under the DILG.
The 1992 agreement was signed by then UP President Jose Abueva and then DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan III following the enactment of Republic Act 6975, which effectively transferred the country’s police force from the DND to the DILG.
Earlier this month, both parties agreed to review the accord. DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya has also said his agency does not intend to abrogate the pact for now.
Lorenzana abrogated the UP-DND Accord, arguing that the agreement was being used by communist rebels to freely recruit students into the insurgency.