Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, Department of National Defense Secretary of the Duterte government, on 15 January unilaterally abrogated the UP-DND Accord of 1989 that prohibits armed state security agents from entering campuses of the University of the Philippines without prior concurrence from university officials, claiming that the UP has been a “breeding ground” for members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.
Following the announcement, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, warned that not only the UP but dozens more universities are being used by the CPP and the NPA as their “recruiting ground”.
Objecting to the allegations, presidents of four major universities asserted that no such recruitment exists in their grounds and demanded that the Duterte government respect the tradition of academic freedom in the schools.
Dr. Michael Alba of Far Eastern University, Br. Raymundo B. Suplido, FSC, of De La Salle University, Fr. Isaias D. Tiongco, OP, of University of Santo Tomas, and Fr. Roberto C. Yap, SJ, of Ateneo de Manila University, said, "this charge is really getting old -- a rehash of the accusation the general made in 2018 -- irresponsibly since cast without proof."
Prof. Fidel R. Nemenzo, Chancellor of the UP Diliman campus said, “It is unthinkable that despite the millions of taxpayers' money poured into military intelligence, the AFP is making such baseless accusations.”
Days after, on 22 January, the AFP Information Exchange posted on Facebook 27 former UP students who “became NPA (died or captured)”. The list included several prominent people very much alive and working in their own fields as lawyers, businessmen, journalists and even as officials of the Duterte government.
The AFP intelligence service reportedly picked names from a 1980s era list of student activists. The “dead NPAs” condemned the accusations. They posted online videos showing they were neither active nor captured NPA, and very much alive. Several are preparing libel suits against the AFP for its red-tagging activity.
Security agents of the Duterte government have been accused of killing activists who have earlier been victims of AFP and police harassment and red-tagging.
In a statement on 26 January, the CPP avers that Gen. Lorenzana “wants the military to establish its intimidating armed presence in UP and other universities to instill fear in the student population and stop them from thinking and acting critically against corruption, mendacity, treachery and tyranny of the ruling Duterte regime.”
The CPP said, “In fact, he is only succeeding in further stoking the students and youth’s intellectual interest in the NPA and the armed revolution.”