/ 21 January 2021

ALBAY 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman filed a resolution urging the House Committee on Human Rights to immediately conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the unilateral abrogation by the Department of National Defense of its 1989 agreement with the University of the Philippines.

The cancelled accord upheld UP’s academic freedom and bars members of the police and military from conducting operations inside the campus without informing the university officials.

Representatives Christopher Belmonte, Lorenz Defensor, and Carlos Zarate co-authored House Resolution 1490. More members of the House are expected to cross party lines to support the inquiry.

Lagman said that DND’s unilateral termination of the agreement without prior consultation with UP officials is illegal and void ab initio because the accord was entered bilaterally and mutually and could not be extinguished by one party alone.

He added that the one-sided termination opens the floodgates for military and police incursions into UP campuses nationwide under the guise of protecting national security and maintaining peace and order.

“While Lorenzana claims that UP campuses are hotbeds for recruitment of students for membership to the CPP-NPA, the fact is there are no students now on UP campuses to be purportedly recruited because there are no face-to-face classes and only online classes are ongoing,”  Lagman said.

The Bicol lawmaker emphasized that UP has produced countless national leaders who have fought and safeguarded freedom and democracy as they were honed by the libertarian traditions of the country’s premier state university.

He said that 13 of the last 20 chief justices were graduates of the UP College of Law.