Aren’t all Filipinos subject to laws regarding obstruction of police investigations? This means any “accord” that gives special treatment to officials of the University of the Philippines (UP) by giving them power to deny police access to their jurisdiction is unlawful by nature.
Philippine law is quite clear about what constitutes obstruction of justice. Presidential Decree 1829 penalises persons who “knowingly or [wilfully] obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases”. This includes “harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest prosecution and conviction”. By command responsibility, UP officials who subscribe to the idea that UP campuses are sanctuaries from the police and military are arguably institutionalising a facility to harbour and even conceal criminal elements and activity.
One could also argue that UP officials are complicit in the misrepresentation of information that is vital to an investigation such as, for example, concealing or disguising the true natures of the “activist” front organisations operating within UP campuses. The idea, that these front organisation such as the League of Filipino Students, the editorial leadership of the Philippine Collegian, and groups like Anakbayan, among others that operate with impunity within UP campuses, are front organisations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and, by association, tolerant of and even complicit to the terrorist activities of its terrorist arm, the New People’s Army (NPA) may be debatable. But in being so, that only makes that idea subject to further investigation by state security forces. In supporting a single position on the matter of these communist fronts and standing by measures that aim to impede investigation into that matter (such as the UP-DND “accord”), one can argue that UP officials are in violation of the law which states that “giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender” is a crime along with “publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator or to the court”.
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Why then should the UP and its officials be given special treatment if there is a crime — or suspected crime — that warrants investigation? Indeed, parents alleging that a crime has been committed within UP campuses — i.e. that their children have been recruited into the NPA — have long been pushing their case. The fact of this matter alone already warrants police presence in UP campuses. The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR) itself went on record to clarify that it “does not tolerate armed rebellion and the recruitment of children as combatants”. Allegations that this sort of activity is happening within the jurisdiction of the University of the Philippines therefore must be investigated by the Philippine police. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should get involved if the NPA — an enemy of the state — are found to be involved.
It is quite clear that the idea of an “agreement” between the UP and the Department of National Defense effectively making UP campuses a safe haven for communist terrorists to operate with impunity and under disguise is ridiculous and a contravention of equal application of the law to all Filipino citizens and jurisdictions. It’s high time that sense prevail over privilege built upon dishonest claims and “revolutionary” agendas. If UP officials see the junking of “accords” that ban state forces from their campuses as an outrage, it raises the question of why they would tolerate an infestation of communist terrorists in the same.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.