Four elements of the Philippine Army were recently caught in the act of spying on students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Student leaders criticized surveillance and other tactics employed by state agents to disrupt the student movement.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Volume VIII, Number 30, August 31 – September 6, 2008
Four confirmed elements of the Philippine Army have been caught in the act of spying on students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), August 29.
They were identified as Jerry Alfon, Emmanuel Belmonte and Nestor Estoesta, enlisted Army personnel. Another one is still unnamed.
In a joint statement, Ken Ramos, Anakbayan national chairperson and Sophia Prado, PUP Student Regent said, “Through the united action of the students, these intelligence agents have been prevented from doing their dirty work. The students’ collective action also barred the armed members of the Philippine National Police from endangering the lives of many youth and students.”
The student leaders added, “Such an act is unforgivable. And the youth will not let this crime be brushed aside.”
They said the four are part of a larger military group deployed in PUP. “As students become more involved in national and educational concerns, the presence of intelligence units are meant to monitor the student actions, pinpoint the organizations, sow fear inside the campus and ultimately, disrupt the student movement,” they said.
Ramos and Prado pointed at Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “It is clear from whom such orders emanate – the commander-in-chief herself.”
“Gloria Arroyo’s militaristic method in confronting the people’s unrest is no longer a secret. The all-out war for her political survival being waged in Mindanao is escalating. Now it has reached the very halls of our educational institutions,” they said.
Besides surveillance, the youth leaders said that ‘Mrs. Arroyo and her cabal in the Armed Forces of the Philippines have also held anti-insurgency forums to tag the legal youth organizations, student councils, and student publications as destabilizers, communists and terrorists.’
Such forums were held at the Philippine Normal University (PNU), Centro Escolar University (CEU) and University of the Philippines (UP).
The youth leaders continued, “We may see more of these attempts in the coming weeks. But the youth are ready to retaliate. The youth will continue exposing these underhanded moves by Mrs. Arroyo and the military.”
The group said they would file appropriate cases against the military personnel. They will also block attempts by the military to enter their schools and communities.
They said, “Mrs. Arroyo and the AFP may fool themselves into thinking that they have doused cold water on the student movement. But they are very much wrong. They have only fueled the burning desire of the youth to end the oppressive Arroyo regime.” (Bulatlat.com)