Universities reject military allegations linking them to ‘Red October’

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2018 01:45 AM

A University of Santo Tomas official says the military needs to prove its allegations linking some of its students to a plot to oust the President. File/Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Two universities, included in a list of schools where communist insurgents are allegedly recruiting students to join their ranks as part of a plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, denied such activities were happening.

The military on Wednesday came out with a list of 18 schools in Metro Manila where the said recruitments were taking place.

In a statement, University of Makati said it "has no knowledge of any student activity linked to what the AFP claims as recruitment efforts of the Communist Party of the Philippines."

"While we protect the rights of our students to free speech and assembly, we also strongly adhere to the principles of democracy as enshrined in our Constitution," it said.

"As a local academic institution, we do not participate in any partisan political initiatives, but rather we focus on efforts to strengthen the value of citizenship in young Filipinos so they can become productive members of our society."

University of Santo Tomas (UST) secretary-general Fr. Jesus Miranda Jr., meanwhile, said the military needs to back up its claims.

"Siguro ang point dito kailangan muna ma-prove na bakit kasama ang UST. Ano ang proof na kasama siya? You (AFP) have to prove it," Miranda told the Varsitarian, the official student publication of UST.

"Bakit naman nadamay ang UST dito? ‘Yun lang masasabi ko. Ano 'yung mga proof [at] mga detalye. Or baka naman [they are] stereotyping or because we are a Catholic university and there is a perception that we are against the present government, ganoon ba 'yun? Is that why we’re being tagged?"

Mark Abenir, director of UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, said the university believes in "democracy, rule of law, and good governance."

"It is a big allegation on the university. On our part, we have been in support of the different educational needs of our marginalized sectors here in the university," Abenir told the Varsitarian.

"I do not understand why they are red-tagging the University for standing up for human rights, standing up against the return of any form of dictatorial rule.