Jan 20, 2021 @ 16:55

Panelo says UP to remain ‘citadel of freedom’ despite cancelled DND deal

Salvador Panelo sought to calm his fellow Iskos and Iskas enraged by the shock move of the Department of National Defense to revoke a decades-old agreement keeping state forces out of campuses.

The chief Presidential legal counsel, who is also an alumnus of the University of the Philippines, tried to be reassuring as he took the government’s side as students and graduates protest the apparent intention of the military and police to come and go around UP as they please.

He said the ’80s agreement has no place in current times and only stands in the way of justice.

“National security requires that the law enforcement and the military, as enforcers of law and the protector of the people, respectively, can not be impeded or derailed in the exercise of this constitutional duty,” Panelo said in a statement. “Logic dictates that giving prior notice to UP before conducting lawful operations and serving warrants impedes law enforcement.”

The abogado also claimed that UP will not be stripped of its academic freedom, as choices on who the students or professors will be, as well as the school curriculum, will remain theirs.

“The freedom of expression and of speech is not abridged. Nor is the right to peaceably assemble prohibited. Neither does the abrogation proscribe or stop the faculty and students of UP from thinking freely on any subject,” he added. “With or without the DND-UP accord, and governments will come and go, UP will always be a citadel of freedom.”

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