‘Misrepresentation’: AFP corrects another false tagging of ex-UP lecturer

January 27, 2021 - 5:59 PM
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UP Oblation
The University of the Philippines Oblation (Philstar/File photo)

The military corrected another mistake, this time, by its civil relations service which falsely tagged a former lecturer as a University of the Philippines professor.

Last Sunday, the Facebook page of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Civil Relations Service (CRS-AFP) posted a social media card and quoted a certain Michael Eric Castillo, whom it introduced as a UP professor.

However, the UP administration later clarified in a statement that Castillo worked as a senior lecturer and not a professor.

He is also no longer affiliated with the country’s premier academic institution.

The university also urged the military unit to take down the post “to prevent further misinformation.”

Old and new posts

In the social media post in question, Castillo was quoted expressing his disdain against alleged communists studying in UP.

“Majority ng taga-UP hindi naman pinapansin ang mga komunista na iyan kasi iyan naman ay maliit lang ang bilang. Their ideology is faulty,” the quote card read.

The social media post also bore the seal, colors and the oblation statue of UP.

A separate report of ABS-CBN showed that the CRS-AFP had cited the Castillo before in another social media post.

In both social media posts, Castillo was referred to as a UP professor. They also featured UP’s official seal and an image of the Oblation in the post.

The news outfit managed to download and share copies of these before they were replaced.

Despite being called out by the university, CRS-AFP did not take the post down. Instead, it attached an edited version of the graphic and changed Castillo’s title to “UP alumnus and former senior lecturer.”

It also removed UP’s seal and the Oblation statue.

In statement on Tuesday, UP criticized the wrong title used to introduce Castillo as “inaccurate and misleading.”

“He served as a part-time senior lecturer of UP Diliman from 2013 to 2017. The use of the title of “UP Professor” to refer to him is inaccurate and misleading,” read the UP statement.

UP also informed the military that it is not authorized to use symbols that represent the university in its posts.

“This is not an official UP post, and the use of official UP symbols is inappropriate and improper. We urge that this post be taken down and a clarification on the use of official UP symbols be issued to prevent further misinformation. To do otherwise is a disservice to both UP and the AFP,” UP said.

‘No intention to mislead’

Responding to UP on the same day, the CRS-AFP said that it has no intention to mislead the public.

It emphasized that the quoted remarks were Castillo’s statements in a previous radio interview.

“The CRS-AFP has no intention to disrespect and mislead the public in providing information. The quotes were accurate as they were lifted from the actual statements made by Mr. Eric Castillo during the ‘Up Up Pilipinas Radio Program’ on January 22, 2021,” its statement read.

 

The CRS-AFP also did not apologize for the use of UP’s logo. Instead, it insisted that the use of the logo was “of good intention and was retrieved from open source.”

The AFP’s unit also defended its use of Castillo’s words.

“Further, regardless of the position and tenure of Mr. Eric Castillo in UP, he has been part of the community and his voice must be heard as well,” the post read.

UP ranks

UP’s National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) stressed that the AFP’s blunder in a person’s position is a form of misrepresentation of the UP community.

It stated that  the AFP and its units should observe the “strictest standards” in the information it disseminates to the public.

“We deplore AFP’s blatant attempt to misrepresent the UP community by misappropriating UP’s logo, peddling opinion as fact, and generally releasing information without proper verification of its sources,” UP-NCPAG said.

“As the primary duty-bearer of our national security, we expect nothing less from the AFP to observe the strictest standards in upholding truth and integrity as it performs its duty,” it added.

 

Some UP professors also vented out their ire against the military. They noted that the “professor” title is a position they earned and not easily granted to them.

On Sunday, the AFP’s Information Exchange falsely tagged some UP alumni as “NPA members.” Some of them were also tagged either “dead” or “captured.”
However, it later issued a clarification that there were “inconsistencies” in the list. It added that “thorough validation is being undertaken” by the team.