UP community welcomes dismissal of charges vs Flores; urges protection of constituents against 'state attacks'

At a glance

  • "University of the Philippines (UP) professor and former union leader Melania Flores raises her fist during a press conference about her arrest by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit of the Quezon City Police Department (CIDU-QCPD) for alleged violation on remittance to the Social Security System on Monday, February 6, 2023. Flores shares her side of the story, insisting that there's a violation of due process in the incident and that it is an attack against unions." (Photo: Noel B. Pabalate)

The University of the Philippines (UP) community welcomed Quezon City Regional Trial Court's decision to dismiss the charges filed by the Social Security System (SSS) against UP Professor Melania Flores.

This was after the state-run pension fund executed an affidavit of desistance, said the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) in a statement on Sunday, March 19.

CONTEND Vice Chairperson and UP Professor Mon Sy stated that the incident should prompt the university administration to "stand its ground and hold the line."

Meanwhile, All-UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) President Perlita Raña stated that  Flores "should be the last to experience such dirty harassment schemes of the state to attack UP activists, unionists and academic freedom."

Raña also urged the UP administration to "hasten the creation of a university-wide Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Academic Freedom and Human Rights to ensure the rights and liberties its constituents against attacks by state forces, as proposed by UP Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota."

"Prof. Flores, as a veteran union leader, had always been at the forefront of campaigns for better wages and regularization of contractual workers inside and outside UP, a higher budget for UP and other state universities and colleges, and the defense of academic freedom in the face of red-tagging and heightening political repression. The legal harassment against her is a clear demonstration of the state forces’ high-handedness and abuse of authority to intimidate her and other activists and unionists. Prof. Flores has our full support in seeking justice and holding the perpetrators accountable for their transgressions," she added.

According to Flores, the experience taught her that "in the face of repression and oppression, our only recourse is to collectively push back, not only for UP constituents but for every Filipino whose rights are violated."

On Feb. 6, she was arrested in her home inside the UP Diliman campus by personnel who presented themselves as staff from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

As per the warrant of arrest, the UP professor violated the SSS Law by not remitting her house helper's contribution.

She was brought to Camp Karingal and was released later that day after posting bail worth P72,000.