/ 8 February 2023

THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines’ Office of the Faculty Regent on Tuesday urged authorities to investigate what it called “serious lapses on protocol” by police officers who arrested one of its professors earlier this week.

Professor Melania Flores was arrested on Monday by members of the Quezon City Police District for alleged non-remittance of Social Security System contributions.

She was released from detention after posting bail.

“Dr. Flores’ arrest inside the Diliman campus violated the UP – Department of Interior and Local Government Agreement. One of the provisions of the 1992 Accord stipulated that ‘the service of search or arrest warrants on any UP student, faculty, employees, or invited participants in any official activity shall, as far as practicable, be done after prior notification is given the UP President, or Chancellor of the constituent university, or Dean of the regional unit concerned, or their respective officers-in-charge in the event of their absence,” UP Faculty Regent Ramota said in a statement.

“The UP Diliman administration also confirmed that PNP authorities did not coordinate with them before the arrest inside the campus was made,” he added.

In a Facebook post, human rights group Karapatan National Capital Region said two female and two male police officers in civilian clothes went to the house of Flores and posed as employees of the Department of Social Work and Development.

The police officers showed the warrant of arrest when Flores opened the gate.

Ramota stressed that the arrest of Flores “sets a dangerous precedent for all UP constituents and the academic community in all institutions of learning.”

He called on university officials to use all “administrative and legal resources” to promote and uphold academic freedom.

“At the heart of the University is the exercise of academic freedom, and its promotion and protection must be the priority of all its administrators,” Ramota pointed out. “It is the University’s duty to promote and protect academic freedom amid disinformation, historical distortion, and wanton disregard of people’s rights.”