Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Wednesday denied he is pushing for the installation of police and military stations inside the University of the Philippines (UP) campus following the unilateral abrogation of the 1989 accord between UP and the Department of National Defense (DND).
Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, vehemently refuted the allegation, saying that a fair opportunity for the government and the Leftist groups is what should be observed instead.
“No. Hindi. I am not pushing for that. They might say again that the mere sight of a police or soldier inside the campus is a curtailment of their academic freedom,” Dela Rosa said in a statement.
“No, that is not what I am pushing. What I want to say is that I hope the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the police be allowed to recruit people from inside the UP campus to join the Army and police force the same way that the CPP/NPA is free to recruit UP students to join their cause and hide in the mountains. That’s equal opportunity, right? Let’s allow it,” the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chief added.
An administration ally, Dela Rosa earlier expressed his support to the DND’s move to unilaterally cancel the agreement that has been keeping state law enforcers from entering UP campuses in the name of academic freedom.
“It is long overdue. The government was fooled by the CPP/NPA/NDF in the last 31 years thru that agreement,” he had said in a statement, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.
“What is so special with UP? Why do other academic campuses like MSU, have no agreement like that? What is so special with UP that our soldiers and cops are barred to enter it? What does it mean?” he pointed out.
Dela Rosa earlier led public hearings on the alleged recruitment of minors by Leftist groups where some parents and communist rebel returnees testified that Leftists organizations recruited minors as their manpower for their armed struggle against the government.
Under his committee report, the senator underscored the need for police visibility around and within the UP premises to thwart Leftists groups’ recruitment of vulnerable students.