WHATEVER decision made by the Department of National Defense (DND), particularly on the abrogation of its accord with the University of the Philippines (UP), is a judgment call of the Defense Secretary, says a top Palace official.
In a television interview, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte was not even consulted regarding the decision that saw the unilateral termination of its agreement with the state university.
Roque, who is himself a UP alumnus and had some teaching stints at the state university, is referring to the 30-year old accord, which prevents state forces from entering its campuses without prior notice.
“As far as I know, he did not,” Roque said when asked whether or not Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had consulted the President on the matter.
“It was a decision of the DND as privy or a party to that contract between UP and DND,” added Roque.
But even without consulting the President, Roque claims Duterte supports the termination of the UP-DND accord.
In a letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion, Lorenzana said the 1989 agreement had been a hindrance to counter-insurgency operations against communist rebels.
On the other hand, Concepcion, describing the termination as “unnecessary and unwarranted,” asked Lorenzana to reconsider the decision.
UP has condemned the unilateral abrogation of the accord, a move that the academic community described as another way of the administration to silence dissent and curtail free speech.