Busted: University of San Carlos students in Cebu WERE NOT forced to join rally vs. death penalty


The University of San Carlos held noise barrage rallies in all five campuses in Cebu on March 16, but the protest became even more controversial when a Facebook page posted photos of university students claiming they only joined the rally for the sake of getting their attendance checked.

Facebook page “Cebu Flash Report” posted photos of USC students holding up a sign that said “Attendance Ray Amoa.” The post, however, was already taken down by the page, but a netizen managed to get a screenshot of it.

The USC Supreme Student Council (SSC) president Deodatus Paolo Burgos called out Cebu Flash Report for posting the “misleading” and accused the page of “insulting the freedom of speech and expression” exercised by the university students who participated in the noise barrage.

He said participation in the rally was “not compulsory.”

“Good evening Cebu Flash Report! This is Deo Burgos a Political Science student and the President of SSC. I am just concerned on your recent post about the Noise Barrage conducted by the different stakeholders of the University. I would like to respectfully point out that your post is misleading since at the outset, we reminded students that the activity was not compulsory,” Burgos said in his post.

“They were only encouraged to join the protest,” he added.

He also directed Cebu Flash Report to the official Facebook page of the USC SSC for more information about the memo “encouraging” students to join the noise barrage.

We found this post on the USC Supreme Student Council Facebook page about the noise barrage.

Burgos then urged Cebu Flash Report to “correct” the misleading information, adding that the page should “report with truth.”

“Hope you are giving genuine interests because for us, you are insulting the freedom of speech and expression manifested by the students who joined the Noise Barrage,” he said.

“Please ask us the right questions before insulting our democratic efforts,” he added.

Before Burgos even took to Facebook, another netizen, Ara Allego, wrote a post in an effort to “clarify and correct a few things” about how “narrow-minded” people see rallies initiated by students.

She emphasized the fact that students were not forced to join the protest.

“Some people are saying that “para na sa grado, hagbungon kung dili muapil, requirement sa clearance”. Let me correct you by saying that these students/individuals rallying are NOT being forced to do so. They attended the rally NOT FOR GRADES, NOT FOR CLEARANCES, NOR FOR THE FEAR OF FAILING, BUT TO EXPRESS THEIR STAND!! THEY ARE SIMPLY EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH (it is CLEARLY stipulated under our present constitution Art III,Sec.4 NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH),” she wrote.

She argued that if the attendance at the USC rally was indeed required, the number of attendees would have been so much higher.

Allego also pointed out that those who wanted to express their opinions can hold their own rally.

“Respect begets respect. If you want to voice out your opinion, make a rally on your own. Not by attacking the individual personally,” she said.

USC alumnus Jaemar Abangan said that a friend of those students pictured holding up the sign that they only protested “for attendance” reached out to him and explained what really happened as to why those photos were taken.

The said friend explained that he and his friends were pro-death penalty but they joined the rally, shouting nonsensical things. He added that the friend who was wearing shades was the one who wrote the controversial sign and forced him and his friends to hold it for photos, but he said no. He said that he did not expect his other friends to say yes to their shades-wearing friend.

The USC students’ noise barrage started at noon on March 16. The organizers said that there weren’t that many participants but added that they want their little voice to count in the fight against the reinstatement of the death penalty in the country.

Fr. Anthony Salas, USC’s vice president for academic affairs, read a statement that said that the school wants the Congress and Senate to know that they are against the “measures that rush and truncate democratic processes.”

“The University of San Carlos appreciates the Filipino people’s desire for meaningful and decisive change. However, measures that rush and truncate democratic processes essentially deny people the participation demanded by their dignity,” the university’s statement read.

“If public policy process is to achieve the common good, it must acknowledge that respect for the dignity of every human being is not a concession but a right,” the statement further read.

Fr. Salas said that the USC opposes Duterte administration’s plans to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old. He added that the noise barrage was not compulsory as the university administration respected the opinion of the students who did not agree with the university officials’ stand on the death penalty and other current issues.
Source: ( cebudailynews.inquirer.net )

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