Lawyers’ group warns of repercussions over DND’s decision to drop accord with UP

Published January 19, 2021, 9:29 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The government will face repercussions over the decision of the Department of National Defense (DND) to unilaterally terminate its accord with the University of the Philippines (UP) that prevented state forces from entering its campuses, an official of an organization of lawyers warned on Tuesday.


“The maelstrom of yet another imprudent misadventure into basic rights will boomerang on those who do not know when to stop,” National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia said in a statement.

Olalia, who has been criticizing the government for red-tagging individuals and arresting persons over trumped up charges, called the move of the DND as “pushing the envelope and playing with fire.”

“Such unilateral abrogation is unjustified as it is baseless. Notwithstanding the rhetorical disclaimers, this is unmitigated intrusion and a puny attempt at standardization of thinking,” the lawyer said.

With UP being “the safe haven for legitimate protests,” the NUPL president called for the protection of the university.

“Every inch of the University must be free from draconian designs and a hostile environment,” he said.

Olalia said UP is “not even monolithic” and is “a free university.”

“And a showcasing of a number of students who supposedly went underground against precisely these kinds of repression – a proud badge and historical tradition of the school — does not make a case for the Defense department to stick its nose into,” he said.

“It practically makes the military the students’ seatmates,” he added.