/ 21 January 2021

THE PRINCIPLE of mutuality does not apply to the Department of National Defense agreement with  the University of the Philippines, Palace Spokesman Harry Roque said on Wednesday.

“This is an unusual contract, extraordinary contract. It is an act of beneficence of the state in the sense that it suspends the exercise of jurisdiction in a given territory. So I don’t think mutuality is required and I’m speaking as a lawyer,” he said.

Under Article 1308 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the principle of mutuality of contracts emphasizes that a contract must bind both contracting parties and its validity or compliance cannot be left to the will of one of them.

UP and several groups, including lawmakers, have objected to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s unilateral abrogation of the 1989 UP-DND Accord.

However, Roque explained that only contracts with “consideration” cannot be unilaterally terminated.

“Only contracts supported by consideration cannot be unilaterally terminated. Everything else, if it’s bilateral, it’s for cause, then it can be terminated. This 1989 pact is an unusual contract, extraordinary contract,” Roque said.

The agreement, inked on June 30, 1989 by then-Defense secretary Fidel Ramos and then-UP president Jose Abueva, requires prior notification before police and military personnel can enter and conduct operations within UP premises.

On January 15, Lorenzana unilaterally revoked the deal which he said was being used by communist insurgents as a “shield or propaganda.”