/ 26 January 2021

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson on Monday said that the termination of the accord between the Department of National Defense and the University of the Philippines should be suspended after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana apologized for the erroneous list of personalities who were allegedly members of the New People’s Army.

Lacson said that the termination was based on false information.

“I think it is prudent now for Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to at least suspend the termination of the UP-DND accord and hold a dialogue as he already mentioned he would do,” the chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security said.

“They based their decision to terminate the UP-DND accord, signed way back, on what appears now to be false information. They included personalities that they said were captured or killed in action by the military, but turned out to be alive and not captured at all,” he added.

Lacson said Lorenzana and the military establishment should be given credit for admitting their mistake.

However, he said those who made the blunder should be held accountable.

“At the very least, the one responsible for submitting that kind of information and the one who made the announcement should be sanctioned. They should be made to explain and they should really be sanctioned by the AFP leadership if not the DND — not only for putting the defense establishment in an awkward and embarrassing position but more so, the possible dire consequences that could occur because of such irresponsible and imprudent act,” he said.

Lacson added that his committee will review its initial findings on the red-tagging hearings held late last year.

“We will have to ask the military to submit additional documents to validate reports on the personalities which they claimed during the committee hearings we conducted were killed, and if they were actually students of the universities mentioned by Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and the other witnesses presented by the AFP,” he said.

“Naiba ang complexion based on these recent developments. Without these new developments, the committee would have relied on the testimonies and presentations made by the AFP which were not specifically rebutted by the other resource persons,” he added.

Lacson also said criminalizing red-tagging remains a serious consideration, given recent developments.

“Possible consequences could have been disastrous on the part of these people and even the military for that matter, since the troops on the ground could rely solely on the decision being made in headquarters based on false intelligence information,” he said.