MANILA – A lawmaker said the bill institutionalizing the 1989 University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense (DND) Accord should never be legislated because it will “tie the hands” of the executive branch in matters that should be left to their own discretion.
In a radio interview on Oct. 3, Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla said the UP-DND Accord is an executive agreement that must be left to the discretion of the Executive.
“Ang ginawa kasi dito sa amin ni-legislate nila na yung terms ng UP Accord gagawing batas, so tatalian nila yung kamay ng executive through a law (What was done here is that they are legislating the terms of the UP Accord, so they would basically tie the hands of the executive through a law),” Remulla said.
The bill seeks to prevent state security forces, such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), from entering and enforcing its operations in all UP campuses without prior notice to “the President or the Chancellor of the constituent university or the dean of the regional unit concerned” except “in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions or emergencies.”
Remulla said House Bill 10171 violates the equal protection of the law, especially for students who want police presence for campus safety.
“Kasi may mga estudyante gusto nila nandyan ‘yung pulis eh. Doon sila nagtitiwala e… Eh ang nangyayari dito kailangan magpaalam ang pulis para pumasok sa UP (Some students want the police there. They trust them… But what happens here [when the bill is passed into law], the policemen need to ask for permission before they could enter UP),” he said.
Remulla said the measure is “really not in consonance” with the Constitution as it would also tie the hands of the law enforcement, which are considered the “protectors of the people”.
On Sept. 30, Remulla moved to reconsider the third reading approval of the bill and his motion was subsequently approved by the plenary.
He said the Makabayan bloc “smuggled” the bill by pushing for its passage during the budgetary process, which was a very busy season for the chamber.
With the motion to reconsider approved by the plenary, Remulla said the bill would be brought back to the House Rules Committee for its disposition.
In January 2021, the Duterte administration scrapped the accord due to allegations of in-campus communist recruitment. The accord was signed in June 1989 to protect UP students and faculty members from possible abuses from the military and police.
To be enacted into law, the bill also needs to be passed by the Senate, then proceeds to the Office of the President, who would either sign or veto the proposed measure.
In August 2021, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the accord would not be restored under the Duterte administration after “much scrutiny and study” of defense officials.
He said the accord only covers the Philippine Constabulary, and not the entire military and police. (PNA)