Why groups are condemning UP professor Melania Flores’ arrest

February 6, 2023 - 4:46 PM
Photo shows UP Professor Melania Flores (STAND UP NCPAG)

A labor union and a rights group on Monday denounced the sudden arrest of University of the Philippines professor Melania Flores.

Flores was arrested in her residence inside the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City on Monday.

According to All U.P. Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU), a group that Flores used to head, the police who served the warrant of arrest wore civilian clothes and pretended to be from the Department of Social Welfare and Development that will bring assistance to Flores’ home.

Based on a report, Flores was charged with violation of the Social Security Law in relation to the remittance of contributions to the Social Security System.

The document showed that the arrest warrant was issued on Sept. 6, 2022, or exactly five months ago by judge Maria Gilda Loja-Pangilinan of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 230.

AUPAEU, however, said that the house helper was with the professor a day before she was apprehended but did not mention anything about the case. 

The paralegal assisting Flores also said that the professor did not receive any complaint, subpoena, or notice regarding the case.

RELATED: Colleagues raise alarm over arrest of UP professor by undercover cops

Why groups are opposing Flores’ arrest

AUPAEU and the human rights group Karapatan National Capital Region said Flores’ arrest violates the UP-DILG Accord of 1992. 

“[N]ilabag ng CIDG ang UP-DILG Accord ng 1992 na ipinagbabawal ang pagpasok sa loob ng UP campus, kung saan nakatira si Prop. Flores, na walang koordinasyon o pabatid sa Administrasyong UP Diliman,” AUPAEU said. 

The UP-DILG Accord is an agreement, which regulates the military and police operations inside the university. 

Under the first provision of the UP-DILG Accord, the military, and police are required to inform the university’s administration before they could conduct any operations inside the UP campus. 

The agreement also states that except in “cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency,” no military or police shall enter the premises of the UP campuses.

The labor union also questioned the release of a warrant of arrest against Flores as they said that the professor did not even receive a notice or a subpoena. 

“[H]indi ipinaalam kay Prop.[esor] Flores ang anumang reklamo o kaso laban sa kanya dahil wala siyang natanggap na anumang notice o subpoena ngunit may inisyu na kaagad na warrant of arrest,” the union said. 

AUPAEU also denounced the deception made by police authorities by identifying themselves as social workers. 

The group in a statement said that the arrest of Flores is an attack against union leaders and professors. 

“Malinaw ang paglabag sa UP-DILG Accord ng 1992 at ang ganitong maruming taktika ng CIDG ay isang pamamaraan para takutin at harasin ang mga lider-unyonista at mga makabayang akademikong manggagawa,” AUPAEU statement reads

“Palayain si Prop. Flores! Itigil ang pananakot at pandarahas sa mga akademikong manggagawa at mga lider-unyonista!” the union called.