VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur (Mar. 28) — Student leaders of the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) have been experiencing continuous harassment from the university administration since it increased tuition and other fees last June 2007.
Ma. Criselda Diocena, editor-in-chief of The Tandem, official student publication of UNP, has been barred from entering the university premises, accused of being an “NPA scholar,” and constantly bad-mouthed by members of the administration, is now being coerced into dropping out from school. Diocena’s clearance slip which is needed for her to take the final examinations, is being held by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) causing her to miss exams.
Jeric Pelayo, vice-president for operations in the school year 2007-2008, who ran for the presidency for the coming school year, was disqualified from running on the basis that Dean Joel Beleno of the College of Health Sciences (CHS) filed a case against him. Therefore, the Student Elections Commission and the OSA revoked the good moral character of Pelayo. Pelayo is accused of grave slander by Beleno claiming that the former ruined his reputation by saying the latter’s involvement in corrupt activities during an open forum.
Warren Rafal, student regent and Student Council (SC) president, is now being accused of robbery for supposedly taking things out of the Tandem office. The Tandem office was closed using wooden bars last October 2007 and Rafal asked for permission from Dr. Lauro Tacbas, the university president, to take the official receipts of the publication for them to audit their expenses. Rafal’s clearance is also being held by the OSA on the condition that it will be given to him after he turns over the SC office to the new administration-supported SC President.
According to BAYAN-Ilocos Spokesperson Louie Santos, the false accusations and pumped-up charges against the student leaders aim to discredit the students because of their anti-tuition increase and pro-students stand.
This is a clear case of fascism and we are calling on the students to oppose these tactics of the UNP administration. Rest assured, we will conduct an investigation regarding this matter so that the real criminals will be held accountable,” Santos said. # TANGGULAN Youth Network for Human Rights and Civil Liberties