House recalls approval of UP-DND security bill

By Ma. Reina Leanne Tolentino / The Manila Times


THE House of Representatives on Thursday reconsidered its third reading approval of the bill that seeks to institutionalize the 1989 accord between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND).


The measure, House Bill (HB) 10171, hurdled third and final reading on Sept. 21, 2021.


However, on Sept. 30, 2021, the House approved the motion to reconsider its action.


Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla said the bill is "dead."


"Tapos na. Wala na. Kasi ni-reconsider na 'yan ng plenary. (It's over). This goes back to the rules committee for our disposition. Kami na ang magsasabi kung 'yan ay mabubuhay o palulusutin namin (We will decide if this will be revived)," he said during a briefing held by the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).


He accused the Makabayan bloc of "smuggling" the bill by pushing it during the budgetary process when House members were busy.


Remulla said the measure violates the equal protection of law.


He argued that the Congress should not touch the UP-DND accord.


"It is an executive agreement and must be left to the discretion of the Executive," he said.


The agreement barred security forces from entering UP campuses without the permission of the university officials. The Defense department scrapped the agreement early this year.


National Security Adviser and NTF-Elcac Vice Chairman Hermogenes Esperon lauded Remulla's stand.


Several lawmakers, however, asked House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to declare the reconsideration null and void.


The letter was signed by Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago; Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat; ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro; Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; and Quezon City Sixth District Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte.


Section 106 stated that "[w]hen a measure, report or motion is approved, adopted or lost, a member who voted with the majority may move for its reconsideration on the same or succeeding session day."


"Five session days had already passed since the deadline on September 22, thereby making the reconsideration invalid," the lawmakers said in the letter.


HB 10171 seeks to amend Section 11 of the University of the Philippines's charter to include Subsections A-H.


The proposed Section 11-A requires the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or any other law enforcement agency to give prior notification to the president or chancellor of the constituent university or the dean of the regional unit concerned or the officer-in-charge before conducting an operation in any UP campus.


The proposed Section 11-B states, "Except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions or emergencies or in cases defined in the next succeeding paragraph, no member of the PNP, AFP or other law enforcement agencies shall enter the premises of any" UP campus or regional units.

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