‘Someone should be held liable,’ Red-tagged UP alumni slam military’s NPA list

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 23) — University of the Philippines alumni who were included in the military’s list of alleged members of the New People’s Army said someone should be held liable for such “reckless” publication.

In a presser on Saturday, Atty. Raffy Aquino, a member of the Free Legal Assistance Group who was included in the list, said they are now consulting as a group and individually on the next steps they will take regarding the allegations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“The members of the group are consulting and definitely, we want to hold people accountable for this reckless publication of a list and our malicious inclusion in that list,” he said.

Aquino said they are considering Cyber Libel and contempt given that some of those listed, like him, are currently involved in the ongoing litigation of the Anti-Terrorism Act before the Supreme Court.

RELATED: Anti-Terrorism Act oral arguments moved to Feb. 2 as Calida's staff catch COVID-19

The Facebook page of the AFP Information Exchange recently posted a list of some UP students who they claimed were members of the NPA and have either died or captured. The list was later taken down.

Journalist Roel Landingin, who is also among those named, said authorities may have been “pressured” to come up with a list to justify the revocation of the pact between the state university and the Defense Department.

READ: The 1989 UP-DND Accord: Content and context

Also red-tagged Atty. Alexander Padilla, who previously held several positions in the government including chief peace negotiator, said this might be a way to “cover up their incompetence” in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said not only the AFP Information Exchange should be held responsible, but also Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

“While hindi natin nakikita iyong direct hand ni President [Rodrigo] Dutere alam rin natin na si Lorenzana is his alter ego… We assume that lahat ng sinasabi ni Secretary Lorenzana ay may bahid ng kasunduan with President Duterte,” he added.

[Translation: While we do not see the direct hand of President Rodrigo Duterte, we know that Lorenzana is his alter ego. We assume that all that Secretary Lorenzana says has been agreed upon with President Duterte.]

It is important to note that the President, who is also the commander-in-chief of the AFP, has immunity from suit as long as he is in office.

Those accused also demanded a public apology from the AFP.

In response, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, AFP deputy chief of staff for Civil-Military Operations, said " “I will wait first on the validation of the information. Then let’s see the next step."

Arevalo’s office manages the said social media page.