Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay’s salvos against the Department of National Defense-University of the Philippines (DND-UP) has not stopped, with the military chief saying this time the accord was a violation of the equal protection clause under the 1987 Constitution.
In a statement on Wednesday, Gapay said it was only UP that enjoyed privileges under the recently-terminated agreement.
“There is no substantial distinction between UP and other schools, state colleges, and universities. To give to UP such entitlement places it an unfairly advantaged status over the academic institutions and defies that Constitutional guarantee of equality of rights and protection under our laws,” Gapay said.
Gapay expressed support to DND’s move to terminate the 1989 accord, saying it was “unfair to the Filipino people and runs contrary to the public interest.”
“Thus, the termination of the said accord does not violate the Constitution or any substantive laws of the land. On the contrary, the termination rectifies what we believe was in fact infringement of our Constitution,” he said.
“It’s high time that we put an end to a deal which has been taken advantage of by the CPP- NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) in perpetuating their deceptive recruitment,” he added, saying that the school is one of the rich sources of NPA recruits.
Several critics of the accord’s termination said the move was an infringement of academic freedom, but Gapay clarified that the military would not interfere in the state university’s “liberty to choose who may teach, what can be taught, the manner with which it will be taught or who may study in UP.”
“That academic freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution, it does not require enabling laws or any other agreements — certainly not from the voided agreement,” Gapay said.
The AFP records show that at least 18 UP students who were recruited by the NPA have perished in skirmishes with government security forces. SOVEREIGNPH