Palace: Duterte not consulted on decision to terminate UP-DND pact

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

Malacañang said Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte was not consulted on the decision to terminate the University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense (UP-DND) accord which prevented uniformed personnel from entering the premises without any notice.

“As far as I know, he did not,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday in an interview with CNN Philippines when asked if DND 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, himself a UP alumnus and former professor at the university.

Despite pronouncements, Roque said the president supports the decision to end the accord.

In a letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion, Lorenzana said the 1989 agreement had been a hindrance to counterinsurgency operations against communist rebels.

However, Conception asked Lorenzana to reconsider the decision and even described the termination as “unnecessary and unwarranted.”

The DND’s move to end the accord was fiercely criticized by the UP community, with some saying this is another way of the Duterte administration to silence dissent and curtail free speech.

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