UPLB Zoom Out: Unmasking UPLB Campus Repression

Posted on February 22, 2010


A THWARTED MALICE: Unmasking UPLB Campus Repression
UPLB Zoom Out Multimedia Collective

So the students and the UPLB constituency may know: We, the UPLB Zoom Out Multimedia Collective own responsibility to the “Wanted Poster” initiative and as such, vehemently deny the involvement of any formation and entities in the motion of such materials.

Without dignifying the official statement of the Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity condemning the supposed ‘maligning’ of Eric Velasco, son of UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco no less, we would like to illuminate our fellow Iskolar ng Bayan regarding the issue at hand and retort their shallow and unforgiving rhetoric.

Specifically, let us clarify that the Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN), the largest alliance of student formation in UP System, in particular Leo ‘XL’ Fuentes HAS NO HAND WHATSOEVER in the circulation of the ‘WANTED posters’ in the campus as alleged by said fraternity.

Dwelling on this allegation alone, we can’t help but frown on their seemingly weak retort as they implicate themselves for self-rated bias and prejudice. By dropping the name of XL Fuentes and the formation he was representing as behind the ‘Wanted posters’, is a false and blind accusation, thus, we condemn this form of ‘trial by assumption’. Banking on their ignorance and shallow assumption setting, they light-handedly pointed Mr. Fuentes as the culprit. Now who’s pointing fingers to whom without any stain of evidence?

Our initiative steamed from the February 5 incident wherein members of SAKBAYAN confronted three members of said fraternity, including Eric Velasco, son of the Chancellor for their alleged involvement in a frustrated black propaganda operation maligning the USC, Perspective and student activists (please see posted SAKBAYAN official account of the incident). In essence, the circumstances on that particular time point to them as the probable perpetrators, thus, the move of SAKBAYAN members, as a party concerned, to refer them for investigation and documentation before the University Police Force.

Unfortunately, the investigating team led by a certain Jerry Pelegrina, reportedly led the three suspects out of the police office through the back exit and into an awaiting red-plate vehicle without careful inquiry on the case. Unconvinced of the situation at hand, SAKBAYAN and USC members blocked the vehicle from getting away. Seeing the persistence of the protesting party, the police then just let the suspects flee on foot.

Clearly, there were lapses in the conduct of investigation, as the names of suspects were not taken; worse, Pelegrina asserted that the suspects may enjoy “the right to privacy”. Even members of the UPLB Perspective, the official campus press availed no information from the book of blotter– proof to its lack of investigation.

Seeing injustice unfolds in their face necessitates collective action, similar to a citizen’s arrest, thus, SAKBAYAN members, et. al. worked their way to establish their case against the freed suspects.

Basing on this, we reiterate our stance that such materials are NEITHER BLACK PROPAGANDA NOR MISINFORMATION because it bore the signature of our campaign site, which is the “Stop-UPLB-Militarization” campaign online site via Facebook & Multiply and it is based on our analysis of what transpired on February 5 as accounted by the SAKBAYAN statement. If only the police have recorded the case, we could have official accounts on the case. And if only these people find time in research and prior investigation, they should have not placed themselves in contempt for their unfounded hate and allegation against SAKBAYAN and Mr. Fuentes. On the other hand, if they question the veracity of roving information, they should have set the records straight and let the three suspects submit to a thorough investigation.

Without the benefit and aid of a supposed investigation/blotter, which is a standard operating procedure (SOP) in law enforcement, that we found redress in exposing said arbitrariness of the UPF on the case of the Chancellor’s son through engaging expositions to stir discussion and heighten the student’s consciousness about repression in the campus. They (fraternity) themselves justified this mode by asserting that, “any form of information campaign is an exercise of such freedom” in the absence of a student paper, and the overboard of press freedom.

Meanwhile, as if they were redeemed from the gates of hell in claiming that no piece of evidence would implicate Eric Velasco, et al., the circumstances and timing seemingly and without doubt point otherwise. Thus, if there is someone that you should go after, it is the UPF for its failure to accord due process of law to the victims and thus, we have resorted to, as we always does, expose this irregularity.
Moreover, if indeed the three alleged members of said fraternity are innocent, then they should have availed of legal remedies in the proper forum and not to be cuddled by the UPF on duty and guarded by CSB even outside the university premises. But in this urgent and extreme case, clearly the SOP has been out rightly bypassed and ignored.

We see this as rather a prelude to a grand diversionary move, and worse, cover up for the three suspected students behind the February 5 black propaganda distribution.
As a proactive organization, we do not stand at the center of issues; we take sides and stood for what we believe is upright. At this juncture, we are reminded by the fictitious group SAY-ACT, which single-handedly take on progressive student leaders and formations in the campus in a systematic propaganda race. The only difference though is that they (Feb 5 suspects) are used to operate at the wee hours of the evening and in some isolated alley in the campus while SAY ACT ventured into snail-mail.

Through all these, we stand by our artistic manifestation of the issue at hand which is informing the broadest number of students in the strongest call possible. Where impunity and persecution reside, exemplified by the intelligence work through the CSB and OSA, our protest in unconventional forms will persist. We cannot allow any more the proliferation of black propaganda paraphernalia perennially used by the fictitious group SAY-ACT. While they keep on hiding from face of the earth, recent developments have rendered this group to come into form and to be unmasked soon.

Dealing lightly with this systematic and arbitrary wave of vilification against student leaders and progressive groups would be a disservice to the many students who are vulnerable to these persecutions by the powers-that-be in the campus. We cannot tolerate such injustice to perpetuate in this campus touted as bastion of democracy and freedom, let alone, keep the students hanging on the real score of the issue.


Postscript: As of posting time, another set of black propaganda materials were circulated in the campus against progressive groups and students-leaders affiliated with SAKBAYAN; while the three suspects haven’t been investigated by the UPF and still at large.

Originally posted here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=295354357875&id=100000048877817&ref=mf

Posted in: UPLB