Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has accepted Presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s offer to broker talks with University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion on the termination of a 30-year-old agreement between the two parties.
Roque made the statement after he offered to facilitate a possible discussion between Lorenzana and Concepcion on the termination of the UP-DND accord that prohibits the uncoordinated entry of police and military to campuses.
In his Thursday presser, Roque said that Lorenzana has expressed willingness to sit down and talk with Concepcion but the latter is yet to respond to his offer.
“What I offered was my good office. Ibig sabihin, hindi lang yung physical office ko. Pwedeng sa labas po kung saan pakakainin ako ni Presidente Danilo Concepcion (It’s not just my physical office. We can do it outside where President Concepcion can treat me to a meal),” he said.
“So far po, ang tumanggap lang po ay si Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Hindi pa po ako nakakarinig ng kahit anong komento kay President Danilo Concepcion–natatakot po siguro akong pakainin a labas (So far, only Secretary Lorenzana has accepted my offer. I have yet to hear anything from President Concepcion–maybe he’s afraid of treating me to a meal),” he added.
Roque– a UP alumnus and a former UP professor– said he does not want to set specific objectives – in serving as a broker of possible talks between the two officials.
“We don’t need to have fixed goals. It’s for the parties to talk,” he said.
Wala naman po ‘yang kahit anong (This does not have any) pre-requisites. It’s just an opportunity to sit down. Pero wala po yang objective, wala po ‘yang (It doesn’t have an objective nor a) waiver of anything,” he added.
The Palace official, meanwhile, said that Lorenzana accepting his offer does not mean or imply that the Defense Secretary was automatically taking back his unilateral decision to abrogate the UP-DND Accord.
He, however, said it does not also mean that Lorenzana will not change his mind.
“I will not say that until they are actually able to sit down and talk,” Roque said.
“It doesn’t mean anything… It’s done, principally, in inter-state relations but has also been resorted to even in a domestic setting for purposes of either mediation or reconciliation,” he added.