THE Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, that it will not crack down on activists nor carry out warrantless arrests at the University of the Philippines (UP) with the abrogation of an agreement that prevents state forces from entering UP campuses.
Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, said academic freedom is intact in UP.
"No crackdown. No arrests without warrant. No militarization. The police will just normally do their daily work in communities. If we are called, we will be there as well to protect the rights of students from threats posed by lawless elements," he said.
PNP Chief Debold Sinas has expressed support for Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s order to unilaterally terminate the agreement effective January 15, 2021.
Sinas said the agreement did not serve the best interest of the public in the past 30 years that it was in effect.
“The PNP wishes to state that the termination of the agreement does not diminish our mandate to uphold the law at all times. Any abuse or criminal behavior committed by men in uniform shall be dealt with accordingly,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, an alumnus and a former law professor of UP, said President Rodrigo Duterte also supports the order.
Citing his experience in the United States and Europe, Roque said police can be seen roaming around campuses but “academic freedom was never violated.”
“Nasa mga taga-UP rin po iyan...Hindi po nila hahayaan na mabalewala at malabag ang kanilang karapatan sa academic freedom,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)