By Atty. Arnedo S. Valera

Exercise of freedom, not freedom from consequences

January 24, 2021, 8:53 pm

THE principle of academic freedom has enjoyed an uneven track record in the Philippines. Evidently, the UP is where you see a free public debate, academic research, discussions on Marxist-Leninist, Mao Zedong political thoughts both informal and non-formal education set up. I myself read many of these books on dialectical materialism, armed struggle, Democratic Centralism, my favorite Das Capital, etc.
If our professors, as part of academic freedom, go on to espouse Marxist-Leninism, Mao Ze Dong political principles, and advocate the violent overthrow of the government and supplant the existing system to be replaced by Communist Politburo in government and embrace socialism, then that is contrary to our Philippine Constitution and other existing laws. For that matter, I believe will be violating our national security laws and even the Anti-Terror Law. Similar to our freedom of religion, you can worship anything you want and hold any religious belief, but the moment you act on it that will put to danger the lives of people and or cause physical harm even deaths, Then we know the obvious consequence.

If in the exercise of academic freedom, you actively advocate for these principles calling for the violent overthrow of the government and acting on it, then you violate the Constitution and existing Phil. National Security Laws. More so that the mainstream thinking and with more than 90% of the Philippine population are Christians, calling for the violent overthrow of the government through the Protracted People’s War will not succeed and communism will never be accepted in the Philippines.

Peaceful protests, espousing reforms through non-violent means will remain the norm and will not run counter against the Constitution and existing laws.

Several organizations and individuals (not red-baiting) can, if they are honest in their cause should without hiding anything (which they will not do obviously for security reasons should respond to questions in categorical terms whether they espouse violence to overthrow an existing government) and that they align their cause with the “underground organizations”, who for decades have been in People’s War for more than 50 years and in terms of dynamics of “ dialectical materialism”, that they need legal organizations to continue espousing this using mainstream social, political and economic issues.

The Philippines has enjoyed so much academic freedom and freedom of speech and assembly. Am not against activism, so long as it will not violate the Philippine Constitution and our national security laws.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Arnedo S. Valera

Arnedo S. Valera is a licensed New York and Philippine Attorney for more than 30 years. He has a Master’s Degree in International Affairs with International Law and Human Rights as areas of Specialization in Columbia University, NY. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Ateneo De Manila University.  Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) and Chairperson of the US Pinoys for Real Change in the Philippines (USPRCP), Metropolitan Washington D.C.