Charges vs military over erroneous list still an option

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines (UP) alumnus and former Philhealth president and chief executive officer Alexander Padilla on Monday, January 25, 2021, accepted the apology of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over its erroneous list of UP students who have joined the New People’s Army (NPA).

But Padilla, whose name was erroneously included in the list, said he and other UP alumni on the list were still considering charges against the military personnel responsible for the list and its posting online.

"Pag-aaralan pa namin ng mga kasamahan ko dahil nga gusto namin maging leksiyon sana ito," he said in a radio interview.

"Marami kaming options, kakasuhan ba ng cyberlibel, criminal case ng libel o kaya naman violation ng international humanitarian law. So marami kaming options, of course nakatulong naman 'yung apology ng AFP Management Bureau pero still, sapat ba 'yun at di na ba ito mauulit?" he added.

Noting that the AFP has millions of pesos in intelligence funds, Padilla said the military should be more careful in releasing such information.

"Ayoko sana sabihin pero parang walang intelligence, 'no? Kitang-kita, binubusisi ko 'yung listahan at ito nga'y mga kasamahan ko rin, kapanahunan ko, late 70s to early 80s, so we're talking about, what, 40 years? 'Yan na ba ang intelligence product ng AFP?" said Padilla.

"Aminado naman kami aktibista kami dati, lumaban kami sa batas militar... hanggang doon na lang ba ang intelligence ng AFP? Mukhang kailangan nila talagang ayusin nang mabuti. Huwag sanang bara-bara na maglalabas sila ng ganitong impormasyon," he added.

The AFP Information Center released posted the list containing the names of 23 former UP students on its Facebook page. They were allegedly captured or killed during military operations against the NPA.

The post, which was taken down after it drew criticisms, was supposed to support the Department of National Defense’s decision to terminate its agreement with UP which prevented state forces from entering UP campuses without prior notice to the administration.

Meanwhile, officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which supervises the Philippine National Police (PNP), will meet with UP administrators this week to discuss the relevance of a similar agreement with the police.

The UP-DILG agreement limits police presence in UP campuses. It was signed in 1992.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the meeting will assess the level of security in UP considering the proliferation of residential units, business establishments, and informal settler families within UP campuses, especially in UP Diliman.

“The non-academic areas in UP have increased through the years and crime has been increasing, thus we need to discuss ways on how we can maintain peace and order in those areas,” he said.

“With the growth of the population within each campus, the current capability of the university’s police and firefighting forces must be assessed. Kaya pa ba nilang panindigan ang responsibilidad na pangalagaan ang seguridad at kaayusan sa loob ng campus?” he added.

Malaya said they also intend to raise the matter of continued “clandestine recruitment” by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its front organizations of UP students which was earlier raised by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (SunStar Philippines)


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