Why policemen could not yet enter UP despite abrogation of DND-UP agreement

Published January 20, 2021, 6:31 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Now that the 1989 Enrile-Soto accord was already abrogated, can police forces enter any campus of the University of the Philippines (UP) without notifying the University administration?

General Debold Sinas, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that they cannot because of the abrogation of the agreement, which states that military forces should seek clearance first from UP authorities before they could enter any campus, technically does not cover the PNP anymore.

PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN)

When the agreement was signed in 1989, police forces were still under the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP). The establishment of the PNP in 1991 separated the police force from the military.

Sinas disclosed that an agreement similar to the UP-Department of National Defense (DND) was signed in 1992 between the President of the UP and the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).  The PNP is under the DILG.

“We support the move of the Secretary of National Defense for the unilateral abrogation of the agreement. However, we cannot yet enter or jump off because there is a similar agreement during the time of (DILG) Secretary (Raffy) Alunan,” said Sinas.

“So we are looking at the actions of the Secretary of Interior and Local Government   on what to do. But we will be following up the lead from the DILG on what to do, then will follow through,” he added.

Sinas, however, would not answer if he has already recommended abrogating the same agreement. “We could not answer that, we will wait for the declaration of the SILG (Eduardo Año),” he said.

But the Chief PNP said that they experienced difficulty in entering UP before, especially if there are criminal incidents on campus. He said the process of getting clearance was hard.

Sinas then said that there will certainly be a lot of changes if the PNP has easy access on UP campuses.

But he said they would not intervene on the management of the school and even identify the instructors and students of UP.  He said the PNP involvement in the peace and order is the conduct of regular patrol inside the UP campuses.

“It (regular patrol) is included. We have so many clients there, stakeholders that need to be secured,” said Sinas.

Defense Secretary Lorenzana earlier scrapped the Enrile-Sotto accord because of reports that UP campuses are breeding grounds for communist rebels.