Lacson calls on Lorenzana to suspend termination of UP-DND accord amid red-tagging controversies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25)— Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson called on the Defense Department to suspend for now the abrogation of its 1989 accord with the University of the Philippines in light of the fresh issues on the “red-tagging” of several institutions and their communities.

Speaking to CNN Philippines on Monday, Lacson said it may be “prudent” for Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to hold the termination and carry out a dialogue with university officials in the meantime.

“I think it is prudent now for Secretary Lorenzana to at least suspend the termination of the UP-DND accord and hold a dialogue,” Lacson told The Source.

“Mas maganda siguro i-suspend na muna ‘yung termination ng [Maybe it would be better if they suspend the termination of the] UP-DND accord, and go back to the drawing board, hold a dialogue, and thresh out all the differences between the UP, PUP, and the DND establishments,” he added.

Over the weekend, the Armed Forces of the Philippines apologized to the UP alumni who were included in a list of alleged New People's Army recruits — an information that has received widespread backlash from netizens and the concerned parties who denounced the military’s red-tagging.

The AFP admitted “inconsistencies” with regards to the list, adding that an internal investigation is ongoing. Personnel responsible for publishing the list will also be held accountable, it added.

While Lacson welcomed the military’s move to openly admit the mistake, he still questioned how the false information got posted.

Itong pangyayaring ito (this event), it doesn’t even necessitate intelligence information gathering,” Lacson argued. “I can’t really find an explanation why the military would insist or would post such an irresponsible information based on false information.”

The DND earlier cited the supposed "clandestine recruitment" of students in communist organizations in its decision to unilaterally abrogate the accord with UP. The premier state university also earlier urged Lorenzana to “reconsider and revoke” the move, and asked for a meeting to discuss the agency’s concerns.

RELATED: Lorenzana willing to discuss abrogation of accord with UP president, says Roque

Aside from UP, other major universities in the metro — the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, and the Far Eastern University — also slammed an earlier statement by a military official that some institutions in the country have been hotbeds of communist recruitment.