UST Grade 11 student found not guilty of recruiting members for leftist organization

Published February 27, 2021, 12:00 PM

by Andrea Aro

A senior high school student at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) was found not guilty Friday (Feb. 26) of recruiting members for a leftist youth organization.

University of Santo Tomas (Photo from MANILA BULLETIN)

According to a report from the Vartisarian, the complaint was dismissed due to insufficient evidence against Lance Alo, a member of the UST-SHS student council.

On Jan. 15, a parent of a UST-SHS student filed a complaint against Alo and other council members, accusing them as recruiters for Anakbayan, an unrecognized organization in UST.

Alo met with the UST-SHS administrators on Feb. 6 and said he could “neither confirm nor deny his membership and role in Anakbayan given the lack of definite and clear proof indicated in the incident report.”

Alo was found not guilty of violating the university’s code of conduct resolution issued by the UST-SHS administration on Feb. 15, the Vartisarian reported.

“We carefully examined the pieces of evidence and statements provided by the complainant and Mr. Alo. Due to the lack of sufficient evidence, the committee is convinced that Mr. Alo is innocent of the allegation,” the UST-SHS Student Welfare and Development Committee (SWDC) said in the resolution.

There are at least four provisions under the Code of Conduct in the UST Student Handbook stating that students are prohibited from joining and engaging in unrecognized organizations.

Penalties for membership in illegal organizations include suspension, non-readmission, or exclusion from the University, the report added.

“Winning the case proved that UST fulfilled its promise of “safeguarding its students from the continuous attacks on academic freedom and human rights,” Alo said in an interview with the Vartisarian.

“[The University] vowed to engender the institution as a safe space for the right to free expression, speech and thought,” Alo said.

On Jan. 24, the SHS administration dismissed Grade 12 senior high school student Datu Zaldy “Shoti” Ampatuan after he was found guilty of joining an unrecognized student organization.