For your reference: Here are seven articles circulated in the past few days/weeks that tackle the egg-pelting incident at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. There are more statements which were circulated by student organizations and/ or political parties like STAND-UP, Center for Nationalist Studies, etc. Unfortunately, no electronic versions are available at the moment.
1. Association of Political Science Majors (APSM) statement
2. Open letter of the USC Chairperson Paolo Alfonso
3. Prof. Alex Magno’s Philippine Star column- “Fascists” (Dept. of Pol. Sci. UP Diliman)
4.Bad Eggs and Right Conduct by Dr. Giovanni Tapang (Department of Physics UP Diliman and Chairperson of AGHAM)
5. Justified Imprudence (unsigned statement)
6. What’s in a Protest by Profs Gerry Lanuza and Sarah Raymundo (Department of Sociology, UP Diliman, members of CONTEND-UP)
7. The Limits of Academic Civilty-statment of the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP)
1. Statement of the UP Association of Political Science Majors
(On September 22, after speaking at a forum organized by the UP Association of Political Science Majors (APSM), Armed Forces Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and members of the AFP were pelted with eggs and mud by members of the STAND UP and LFS and other groups. This is the APSM’s statement on the incident-Ed.)
Last Friday, Sept.22, the UP Association of Political Science Majors held a forum entitled “Untamed Conflict and Arrested Development: Finding a Way Out of the Vicious Cycle”. The objectives of the forum were to shed light on the nexus of conflict and development and to examine proposed solutions from different actors and institutions. The speakers invited were Gen. Hermogenes Esperon from the military, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer from SULONG CAHRIHL, Dr. Florian Alburo from the School of Economics , and Usec. Danilo Encinas of the GRP Peace Negotiations Panel.
The forum should be noted for having successfully engaged different actors in a formal and academic discourse and an open exchange of ideas.
The UP APSM is a non-partisan organization with the slogan “where both ends of the political spectrum meet”. Having Gen. Esperon and the Undersecretary Encinas talk to students affiliated to the militant sectors is no less than a perfect example of the meeting of divergent sides. The attendance of Gen. Esperon, together with the other speakers should be recognized as an effort to provide a balanced and unbiased discussion on the topic. The speakers even actively took part during the open forum where they engaged the audience in a dialogue and debate. However, it is unfortunate that some students went against the parameters of academic discourse in the incident after the forum.
Contrary to accusations, APSM stands for academic freedom. We believe that academic freedom means that a person, organization or institution can articulate ideas and political beliefs without the threat of being harmed in any way. In fact, the presentation of the forum is an attempt to achieve that objective. The military as an institution, just like other actors in society, deserves its right to participate in public discourse and present its ideas and policies. Fora such as the one presented promotes transparency by engaging the military in a public discussion of its ideas and policies.
We regret that at the end of the forum, some members of the group STAND UP, LFS and other groups threw eggs at the unarmed AFP delegates. A female officer was hit on the face and the cars were soiled with eggs and mud.
We would like to clarify that we do not condemn STAND UP and affiliated groups as organizations which pursue their own goals. What we are condemning are the actions of specific members involved in this incident. Among the issues raised in the forum were giving respect to human dignity and rights and rejecting violence as a means of struggle. However, these are the offenses which the perpetrators of this incident are guilty of: gross disrespect to the human person and violence. These are actions which give activists and UP students a bad name.
We in UP APSM believe that we all share the same goals of social justice, equity, and development together with our frustrations with government leaders and the shortfalls of existing institutions. We fight the same battles but we differ in the fronts we choose to pursue. However, in spite of this divergence, Prof. Ferrer’s ultimate point should be a guiding principle: paradigm shifts are necessary to achieve peace and regardless of what camp you are in, conflict should be settled through peaceful channels; violence should be a last resort and in the unfortunate occasion that such is employed, camps should submit themselves to established rules of engagement.
During the forum, the UP APSM as the organizers were accused of taking inappropriate measures such as inspecting bags and asking members of STAND UP to leave.
First, we would like to clarify that nobody was asked to leave the forum. One of our members merely asked USC Chair Paolo Alfonso, in the same manner that other members of the audience were also asked, to vacate a seat reserved for faculty and invited guests. Second, as the organizers of the forum, UP APSM reserves the right to take precautionary measures which would ensure the general safety of the audience and the smooth flow of discussion. This decision to undertake such precautionary measures was decided upon by the organization and the organization alone. In fact, as organizers it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of students, especially those whom we invited. The violent and disruptive actions of members of STAND UP after the forum validated the necessity of measures we have taken.
We demand a public apology from the members of STAND UP, LFS and their affiliated organizations for throwing eggs and mud at the delegates of one of our invited speakers. We hope that this incident would never happen again. We also believe that Paolo Alfonso, who identified himself as the University Student Council Chairperson, should apologize to the general UP studentry for misrepresenting us. His actions during and after the forum do not represent the collective behavior of UP students. He should be more careful in his actions especially those that he is doing in his capacity as USC chair. Thus, we demand a public apology from Paolo Alfonso for his actions which were subsequently misconstrued as the general behavior of the UP studentry by the greater public.
How do we create a culture of peace in the midst of these kinds of actions? How can we propose solutions to the protracted conflict in the country and the underdevelopment and suffering of our people when some groups do not know what it means to be civil? We regret that these actions have come from no less than our fellow UP students. The perpetrators of this incident, by their imprudent actions have abused and misused the idea of academic freedom held sacred by the university. Again we denounce the incident last September 22 and enjoin our fellow UP students to do the same.
2.USC Chair responds to APSM statement
(September 27–This is the UPD University Student Council Chair’s response to the APSM statement—Ed.)
Bukas na liham sa UP Association of Political Science Majors
Mga kasamang estudyante,
Mainit na pagbati!
Sumusulat ako ngayon upang sagutin ang inyong pahayag hinggil sa nangyaring protesta laban sa patuloy na panunupil, pagdukot, at pagpatay ng mga ahente ng military sa hanay ng mga progresibo at militanteng mamamayan sa panahon ng pagpunta ni Gen. Hermogenes Esperon dito sa pamantasan. May mga estudyanteng nagprotesta at nambato ng itlog kay Gen. Esperon bilang porma ng protesta at repleksyon na din ito ng galit ng mga mag-aaral dahil sa patuloy na pagkawala ng dalawa nating kamag-aral na sina Karen EmpeÃ±o at Sherlyn Cadapan.
Una pa lamang sinabi ninyo sa inyong pahayag na: “The UP APSM is a non-partisan organization with the slogan where both ends of the political spectrum meet. Having Gen. Esperon and the Undersecretary Encinas talk to the students affiliated to the militant sectors is no less than a perfect example of the meeting of divergent sides.”
Ayon sa inyong pahayag, ang pagpunta ni Gen. Esperon at iba pang nagsalita ay bahagi ng inyong pagnanais na maging “balanced and unbiased” ang inyong talakayan.
Sa pagpili pa lamang ng mga tagapagtalakay ay hindi na kaagad kayo naging “balanced and unbiased.” Sinasabi ko ito dahil maka-isang panig lamang, pabor sa AFP at sa gobyernong Arroyo pa nga, ang mga tagapagtalakay. Si Gen. Esperon bilang Chief of Staff ng AFP ay walang habas na nakakapagbato lamang ng kahit na anong akusasyon sa mga binansagan nilang “enemies of the state;” malaya lang niyang nasasabi ang gusto at nakakapag-akusa ng kung anu-anong malisyosong pahayag at dahil wala namang kinatawan ng panig na kanyang sinisiraan ay walang makasasagot sa kanyang mga paninira. Nagmukha tuloy isang propaganda seminar iyon ng AFP kumpleto sa hitsura ng isang kampo na kung saan napaliligiran ng mga militar ang mga nakikinig.
Dagdag pa dito, kahit sa open forum na kung saan dapat ay nakapagtatanong ang mga estudyante at guro na nandun, ay tila pilit na iniiwasan ng tagapagpadaloy, na si Prop. Quilop, na ako ay tawagin; kahit pa ako ang naunang magtaas ng kamay at imposibleng hindi niya ako nakita dahil halos nasa harapan niya lang ako. Hindi pa ako dapat makakapagsalita kung hindi pa nagpumilit ang mga estudyanteng naroroon na ako ay pagsalitain. Tila napilitan na lamang si Prop. Quilop na ako ay pagsalitain dahil halata nang pilit niya akong iniiwasan. Maaring sa hanay ng mga mag-aaral na kasapi ng APSM ay totoong ninais na maging pantay, ngunit dahil na din sa ginawa ng adviser na si Prop. Quilop at dahil sa mga napiling imbitahan ay hindi na naging patas ang forum.
Hinihingi ninyo na ako ay magbigay ng public apology dahil umano sa: “His actions during and after the forum do not represent the collective behavior of UP students.”
Una, nais kong ipaabot sa inyo na wala akong ginawang mali habang at pagkatapos ng inyong forum. Noong ako ay pinaaalis ninyo sa aking inupuang silya, sinabi ko sa nagpapalipat na “wala namang nakaupo sa upuan na ito, at wala pa naman ang faculty na uupo dito”. Dinagdag ko pa na kung may dadating na at uupo sa aking upuan, ay aalis naman ako, pero ang aking kasama na gusto ding makinig at magtanong sana ay napahiya na at napilitan na lamang na lumabas. Tumakbo ang forum at wala namang lumapit muli na nagsabing naroon na ang uupo sa aking kinauupuan at kailangan ng umalis. Ang umupo pa nga sa inalisan ng aking kasama ay mga estudyante din.
Pangalawa, noong panahon ng malayang talakayan, lumapit pa ang isa ninyong kasapi at sinabing kung ako daw ay magtatanong, huwag ko daw gamitin ang microphone na nasa harapan ko, kung hindi ang mic na nasa halos labasan na ng bulwagan. Tumugon ako sa kanya ng may pagtatanong dahil maayos naman ang mic sa harapan ko. Sa puntong iyon na ako nakaramdam na tila ayaw akong pagsalitain sa inyong forum.
Sa aking palagay, nakapanlilito ang inyong pahayag dahil hindi naman ninyo sinabi kung ano ang aking “actions which were subsequently misconstrued as the general behavior of the UP studentry.” Batay sa mga naganap, malinaw na kung may tumapak ng karapatan, yun ay hindi ako. Ninais ko lamang na makapagsalita at iharap kay Gen. Esperon ang pagkondena ng lahat ng mga mag-aaral sa ginawang pagdukot ng AFP, na kanyang pinamumunuan, sa aking matalik na kaibigan na si Karen Empeaño at dating USC CHK Representative na si Sherlyn Cadapan; at ang ating kolektibong kagustuhan na sila ay palayain sa lalong madaling panahon.
Sa aking pananaw ay walang mali sa ginawa ng mga mag-aaral nang siya ay batuhin ng mga mababahong itlog.
Hindi layunin ng mga nag-protestang mga mag-aaral na makasakit, ito ay dahil kung nais man nila, sana ay binato na nila ng mga bato o ng mga bagay na talagang makasasakit ang mga militar. Sa aking palagay, kung mayroon mang nasaktan, yun ay ang pride ni Gen. Esperon. Sa aking tingin, nasaktan ang pride ni Esperon dahil ang buong akala niya ay tanggap na tanggap at minamahal siya ng mga estudyante pero lumalabas na galit na galit ang mga ito sa kanya dahil sa mga kasalanan ng AFP at niya, sa partikular, sa mga mamamayan.
Lehitimong protesta ang ipinaabot ng mga mag-aaral kay Esperon. Sa ibang bansa, ang mga pinaka-masahol na mga opisyal ng gobyerno na nagpapahirap sa mga mamamayan ay binabato ng kamatis at binubuhusan ng tubig. Makatarungan lamang ang protestang ginawa ng mga mag-aaral kay Esperon. Una, siya ay pangunahing heneral na sangkot sa pandaraya ni Gng. Arroyo noong nakaraang halalan; isa pa nga siya sa pinangalanan sa “Hello Garci” tape, bilang heneral na nagsasagawa ng pandaraya sa pamamagitan ng AFP. Pangalawa, si Esperon bilang hepe ng AFP ay tiyak na pasimuno at may direktang kaalaman sa mga nagaganap na pagpaslang, pagdukot at pagpatay sa hanay ng mga progresibo at militanteng mga mamamayan. Ang kanyang mga kawal ang nagsasagawa ng walang habas na pagpaslang sa mga inosenteng mga sibilyan. Inamin na din niya na walang pinag-iba ang mga armado at hindi armadong kaaway ng gobyernong Arroyo. Sa kabuuan, lahat ng organisasyon at lahat ng mga mamamayan na binansagan nilang “Communist Terrorist” ay target na nila. Walang ibang ibig sabihin ang binabanggit ni Esperon na mga “Internal Security Operations” at Oplan Bantay Laya, sa
partikular, kundi ang malawakang panunupil sa hanay ng mga mamamayan, halos araw-araw nga ay may dumadagdag na bilang ng pinapaslang/ dinudukot ng mga tinuturong ahente ng AFP!
Nangyari ang protestang iyon pagkatapos ng inyong forum kung kaya walang dahilan upang kayo ay makaramdam ng sama ng loob liban na lamang kung sa tingin ninyo ay natapakan ang inyong karapatan dahil sa ginawang protesta kay Esperon. Hindi naman kayo ang nilalabanan ng kapwa ninyo estudyante.
Bilang pangwakas, malinaw kung sino ang kaaway ng mga mamamayan at iyon ay ang mga berdugong ahente ng AFP sa pangunguna ni Gen. Esperon. Ginagamit ng mga ahente ng militar ang mga estudyante upang hatiin ang ating hanay at pagmukaing malinis at mabango ang imahe nito. Tayong mga mag-aaral ang nararapat na magkaisa sa pakikipaglaban upang mapalaya ang ating dalawang kasamahang dinukot ng mga uhaw-sa-dugong militar. Nararapat lamang na samahan din tayo ng UP administration sa laban na ito upang itigil ng rehimeng Arroyo ang hibang na kampanya nito ng panunupil sa mga mamamayan. Hindi tayo ang dapat maglaban-laban dahil pare-pareho lamang tayong tinatapakan at inaapi ng rehimeng ito sa pamamagitan ng AFP at PNP, tayo ang parehas na hinahambalos ng mga pulis sa mga rally, mga kapwa estudyante ang dinudukot at pinapaslang din nila.
Pansamantalang nakakita ng puwang ang mga ahente ng AFP sa loob at labas ng UP upang maghasik ng paninira at maling kaisipan sa ating hanay upang tayo ay pahinain. Ngunit mulat nating harapin ang kanilang hamon sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaisa. Maging daan sana ang liham na ito upang mas mapatibay natin ang ating pagkakaisa bilang mga iskolar ng bayan sa ikatatagumpay ng ating laban para sa ating mga karapatan.
Karen at Sherlyn palayain!
Militar sa kanayunan, palayasin!
Inutang na dugo ng pasistang rehimen, singilin, pagbayarin!
Iskolar ng Bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!
Lubos na gumagalang,
Juan Paolo Alfonso
Tagapangulo, University Student Council
FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno
The Philippine Star 09/26/2006
The University of the Philippines has become a truly dangerous place – for those who are not communists.
In the afternoons, Maoist militants gather in the walkway between Palma Hall and the Faculty Center and indulge in repetitive sloganeering and blood-curdling chants, resembling a voodoo ritual. Ordinary students simply detour to the other side of the road to keep as far as possible from this intimidating gang.
They have nested at the Faculty Center, sheltered apparently by the administration of the College of Arts and Letters, possibly out of ideological affinity. Their propaganda is permanently on display.
Irreverence, I can understand. But not impunity.
Over the past few years, helped by their own mediocre leadership and a University administration that seemed unwilling to enforce discipline, this gang has become noticeably rowdier. They march in corridors, whenever they wish to, disrupting classes.
They are suffered in silence. No one, it seems, wants the trouble of putting them in their place. These radicals are, after all, capable of mounting the most venomous attacks against persons they disagree with. And when they attack, they always do so treacherously, never with honor.
The CPP maintains cells in the faculty of the UP. Consistent with the subculture of the Maoist movement, these cells are comfortable with underhanded tactics. They circulate poison letters, pass intrigue and conspire to form a parallel line of decision-making to achieve their political goals. And woe to those who cross them or stand staunchly against their group-think: they can make one’s life miserable.
These are bearers of fanatical intolerance. They seek to control every medium of discussion and close out views contrary to theirs. The Philippine Collegian, which the leftist obsessively try to control is now more boring than Stalin’s Pravda. They sometimes spill out of campus premises to snipe at points of view they disagree with, such as when they text this paper’s Inbox section to demand that this column be shut down.
Tuesday last week, they were whooping madly as someone on a megaphone announced that they had received a few hundred thousand from the pork barrel of Bayan Muna. I remember thinking that perhaps these guys do not realize that part of that precious fund comes from the VAT, which they opposed so virulently.
Then, last Friday, these radical hooligans crossed a line that puts a large cloud of doubt over the UP’s vaunted academic freedom: they physically attacked the Chief of Staff of the AFP who had come to dialogue with the students.
I thought it was brave of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to come to the UP to dialogue, given the sharply rising rudeness of the radicals. In between my classes, I made an effort to drop by his forum to show appreciation for his courage.
The forum was civil until the chairman of the UP Student Council began speaking. His impertinence and arrogance was matched only by his intellectual ineptitude. He jabbed with clichés and wove so much intrigue into whatever it was he was trying to say that made very little sense. But his fans club jeered and hooted from the gallery nevertheless.
Esperon gamely sparred and never lost his grace. A graduate of the Philippine Science High School and briefly a UP student before he entered the military academy, it seemed the general relished the joust – and scored points.
After the forum ended, Esperon walked to his vehicle, waving at the chanting radicals positioned outside the Faculty Center Conference Hall. I, along with two other faculty members, walked him to his car, as gracious hosts do.
Then the Maoists sprang their ambush. Led by the arrogant and incoherent chairman of the student council, they rained raw eggs on us. Esperon and his detail quietly withdrew to their vehicles and left. The UP police was nowhere in sight as this attack was in progress.
Quickly images ran through my mind as the assault was in progress: Hitler’s brown shirts killing Catholic professors in Berlin. Mao’s Red Guards throwing professors of classical thought off the ledges at Beijing University during the Cultural Revolution and burning them alive along with priceless antiquities from the museum and libraries of this great institution. Khmer Rouge cadres exterminating all intellectuals with a hammer blow to the back of the head.
One female militant standing beside me was shaking with rage and screaming invectives at the top of her voice. I remember thinking: here was a kid so thoroughly brainwashed she was ready to be a suicide bomber.
For indeed, this was an act of violence inflicted by the intolerant on the heart of academic freedom itself. I stood there for a few minutes, staring each Maoist in the face and then walked to my class, my clothes drenched with egg yolk. I was angry; but more than that, immensely saddened.
The Faculty Center Conference Hall is particularly dear to me. It was my personal cathedral to free speech.
During the dictatorship, we could articulate our dissident ideas in this hall. When news of that fateful mutiny February of 1986 spread, the UP community gathered here to debate our own course of action. During the great bases debate, the US ambassador came here to explain his government’s position and was treated with respect by an intensely anti-bases community.
When I directed the Third World Studies Center, we ran a long series of forums called “Academe Meets Government.” Cabinet secretaries came to this hall to defend their record and explain their policies, often before a hostile audience. All of them were treated with respect, beyond all the disagreement. Reciprocity, after all, is the central thread of all civility.
That can never happen again at the UP unless the authorities respond as they must to last Friday’s incident. The fascist tactics of the Maoist hooligans have made not only dialogue with the outside world impossible, the very spirit of free thought and rational debate is seriously menaced.
I don’t think I can continue teaching in this atmosphere of communist terrorism. And if the UP administration does nothing, this university I love shall forever lose its claim to being a sanctuary of free speech and intellectual tolerance.
4. From Dr. Ganni Tapang on Esperon and the egg throwing incident in UP
Bad eggs and right conduct
It is so easy to throw back barbs at the activists who threw eggs at
Esperon in the form of condemnation and outright indignation, as one’s
sense of academic decorum is disturbed by the very vivid and graphic
However, the condemnation can dangerously morph into uncalled-for
anti-communist hysteria and McCarthyist red-baiting, as is being done by
Alex Magno and his friends in the seats of power in Malacanang. In his
intolerant column supposedly written in defense of free speech and
intellectual tolerance in the university, he equates the incident to
fascism and “communist terrorism”. Unfortunately, this only parrots and
tows the military’s dangerous –and fallacious– reasoning that unarmed
activists are no different from their NPA targets.
Equally dangerous is the opinion that activists must have deserved being
targets as they behave “badly”. This is not a case of fighting fire with
fire. The AFP has guns. Students have only eggs and words. Esperon and
his men have outrightly taken part in electoral fraud and have blatantly
tolerated the abduction, torture and killings of unarmed civilians.
Nothing can be more shameful than simply letting go of such iniquity.
The activist students certainly put that difference in power in a
graphic light with the pelting that happened.
This is the same General Esperon, mentioned a few times in the Hello
Garci tapes, which is the reason he is also called a Hello Garci
general. He is one among a few generals who helped in the cheating for
Gloria in the 2004 elections. You can verify that by studying the
contents of the Hello Garci tapes. There was a new book launched last
Monday at the UP College of Law called FRAUD which documents the
cheating in the 2004 elections.
This is the same General Esperon, who has made public in several
instances his total absence for respect for the peace process. Did he
not welcome with open arms “President” Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s
declaration of “all-out war” against the Left, and the accompanying
grant of an additional P1-billion budget for state forces to use in the
counter-“insurgency ” campaign?
The “all-out-war” declared by Arroyo, by the way, is not specifically
against the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army,
and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) — which as
organizations are engaged in armed struggle with the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines (GRP) even as it strives to talk peace with
its foe. It is against the Left — a broad term which can be taken to
include legal cause-oriented organizations like the Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan (Bayan) and progressive party-list groups like Bayan Muna or
even progressive individuals that earned the ire of the leading clique
in power. There is no distinction between guerrillas and unarmed
This is the same General Esperon who continues to hide the Mayuga
report. Is he scared that the Mayuga report will expose his role in
Arroyo’s massive cheating, and that he got his job not because of merit,
but because of patronage? Yet he is being fast tracked in promotion over
more senior staff in the AFP.
This is the General Esperon, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief
of staff who said at the Melo Commissin that the military and Palparan
are not the ones who committed the more than 750 extrajudicial killings
of activists and civilians. Instead he was saying that the Left
themselves are killing their members. He did not lift even a single
finger to touch Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. while the latter was
calling Karen and Sherlyn members of the NPA.
With that, he has dismissed the charge that the two UP lady students,
Karen Empeño and Sheylyn Calapan, (abducted by the military in Hagonoy,
Bulacan 2 months ago and still missing) and effectively saying that they
were really not abducted by the military. Some of those students who
attended that forum were friends of Karen and Sherylyn and you can very
well imagine how they felt about it. Yet, despite these, the students
have had decorum enough to throw only eggs.###
Giovanni A. Tapang, Ph.D. gtapang@nip. upd.edu.ph
National Institute of Physics http://www.nip. upd.edu.ph/ ipl
University of the Philippines Diliman
5. Justified Imprudence
They are such a polite lot, those worthy scholars of the people
under the Association of Political Science Majors or APSM. Angered by
militant students' egg- and muck-throwing of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon,
these idealistic (read: naive, naive!) studes came up with a statement
demanding that the UP student council and their grim-and-determined
fellows from Vinzons apologize to them and the public from the incident.
They specifically asked council chair Paolo Alfonso to publicly apologize "for his actions which were subsequently
misconstrued as the general behavior of the UP studentry by
What the heck are those UP political science professors teaching these
First, let us state the obvious: The egg- and muck-throwing happened
after the forum, after Esperon had left Claro M. Recto hall. If it
happened while Esperon was speaking in the forum, there would have
been much reason in APSM demanding apology from Alfonso, for
responsibility as an invited speaker. He is a guest, after
all. We are all familiar with the concept of Pinoy hospitality, and
the APSM kids are obviously not beyond practicing this cultural relic
of our feudal past.
Should we continue to open our doors to all people, even those
undesirable character, nevermind that known cheats and killers would
understandably not expect people to welcome them in their homes? Or in
this case, nevermind that considering the humongous flak the
is getting because of its horrible human rights record Esperon should
have expected such incidents wherever he goes in the country? Or
nevermind that government officials and public figures not nearly as
controversial as Esperon should expect cries -- or in this case, eggs
-- of indignation to be thrown their way wherever they go for sticking
to a much-hated and discredited regime as Arroyo's?
There are actually similar situations where controversial VIPs grace
events -- the National Press Club's rigodon night, for one -- where
they know they will be humiliated. In the case of Esperon's visit to
UP, he should have expected to be humilitated, if only for the
abduction and continued detention of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and
Karen Empeño. I guess, having a thick face gets in the way of those
What those super-sensitive APSM kids must realize is that they are in
UP, the so-called hotbed of radicalism, of impertinence
imprudence. Bold fraternity men with placards to boot run around the
campus naked, for chrissakes! Almost every moral norm has been
violated in UP, particularly in Sunken Garden and Lagoon, and they
concerned about a simple egg-throwing! They should ask their fellow
students in the History department to tell them about the First
Quarter Storm of 1970, when militant kids their age stormed Batasan
during Marcos's state of the nation address and threw an effigy right
at the would-be dictator's feet, sparking a
quarter-long series of
huge protests and confrontations that would be cited as the finest
hour of the Philippine student movement. They should ask about the
so-called Diliman Commune in 1971, that, while not exactly the type of
commune American and European hippies had during the Sexual
Revolution, had its share of impetinence with students taking over the
campus, renaming Palma Hall as Sison Hall, etc., and playing over
tapes of B-move actress Dovie Beams having sex with Marcos.
It is way, way beyond any expectations of hospitality and politeness
to feel offended when Esperon gets "egged" after he steps out of the
But what is less obvious but nevertheless must be pointed out to
these kids -- and especially the administration officials so keen on
using APSM to attack the militants -- is that the armed conflict that
is raging all over the country can never be settled by mere talk. It
is the height of naivete to
claim that their forum was an "example of
the meeting of divergent sides". APSM supposedly prides itself
making space "where both ends of the political spectrum meet", but
there is no such space. I was once a writer for human rights group
Karapatan, and I heard so many, many times the stories of human rights
workers engaging the military in a dialogue, asking them to
investigate this or that case, or politely pleading to them to pull
out of areas where human rights violations occur. Very, very seldom do
dialogues bear fruit. Often these dialogues occur to the
detriment of the very ones engaged in dialogue -- the human rights
advocates, the families of the victims, who henceforth become targets
of the attacks they so passionately raised their voices against.
They only have to know the story of Eden Marcellana, human rights
worker, and Eddie Gumanoy, peasant leader. They, too, raised their
voices. They used words to expose the inequities that they witness.
to those she worked with, had an encyclopedic
knowledge of human rights cases, and was especially skillful
negotiations with the military whenever they go to fact finding
missions. She held countless dialogues with Jovito Palparan and his
murderous cabal, in Mindoro , in Quezon, in Batangas. Her fate is a
testament to how the military and the state settle arguments. They
can't argue with her, but they won the argument by pelting her body
The militant students only pelted Esperon with eggs and muck, instead
of grenades, which some of their youthful counterparts in Palestine or
Iran would probably choose. The kids are understandably angry.
question in my mind, though, is why are those other kids in the APSM
6. CONGRESS OF TEACHERS/EDUCATIORS FOR NATIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY
OCTOBER 11, 2006
THE LIMITS OF ACADEMIC CIVILITY
“Academic freedom” exists among the faculty of the University to some extent because, within our limited sphere of action and thought, all of its members are considered approximately equal in their possession of power or lack thereof. A situation in which a military man talks to an academic cannot exactly be characterized as a propitious and equal academic encounter. One is trained to impose order by force, while the other advances knowledge by thinking “disorderly” thoughts. One is an expert on human extermination, while the typical representative of the latter hardly knows heads or tails of the business of killing people. The authoritarian culture of the military is completely antithetical to the ideal culture of the University. The beauty of the University is not the fact that we can simply think or fantasize whatever we want to, but that we can actually think against the ruling ideas of the dominant groups and classes in society and still be protected to some extent by our intransigent and impudent claim to “academic freedom.” “Academic freedom” is imperiled not by a “surplus” of oppositional and critical thought but precisely when the dominant political regime attempts to turn the university into a naked tool for the perpetuation of its power and when it seeks to expel, punish or curb the defiant voices of protest within the academe by means of McCarthyite witch-hunting.
The most serious threat to scientific thought and the spirit of inquiry is not the act of throwing eggs at government functionaries or generals in rare moments of rage. Rather, it is posed by the all too common occurrence of faculty members being reduced to fanatical functionaries and court poets of the powers-that-be. The latter type of “academic” is also known to develop grandiose ideas of his own significance, power and even intellect in direct proportion to the amount of money stashed away in his bank account. In the final analysis, they are just paid hacks with professorial pretensions who are undeserving of even the most civil intellectual treatment in the academic context. They should just quit the academe and take jobs in the field of advertising and political slogan-writing instead. When we become tired of their mantras, we even have the right to say to them, “Sell your voodoo ointments somewhere else! We can’t pay you for them.”
The “egging” of AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., at UP Diliman has become a convenient pretext for some professorial state jesters to call for a crackdown on activists and activism on the Diliman campus. Gen. Esperon, also known as the “Hello, Garci General” is the head and representative of an institution which has been widely condemned if not reviled, both nationally and internationally for its evident role in the systematic murder of hundreds of activists, journalists, intellectuals and priests. These murders were and are still being accomplished with the utmost brazenness and impunity on the part of the perpetrators. The irony today is that those who pelted Esperon with eggs and mud at the UP Faculty Center are themselves being accused of having acted with “impunity”!
How can anything be more absurd than bearing down upon some harmless egg throwers when the real culprits, criminals and rotten eggs are left unpunished for their crimes against society. Such an eventuality would surrender justice to mere form. Have we already forgotten the “Garci tapes”? Have we forgotten the tragic fates of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan? Were they given the proper “academic civility” by their military abductors? Do we forget the daily indignities and humiliating poverty that we suffer in order that our politicians, generals and their professorial jesters can swim up to their necks in the taxes we pay? Shame on us if we have forgotten all this. Because it means that we have lost the power to be angry at what is happening outside of our campus and have likewise become totally incapable of understanding the sources of the anger seething within it. Even we, who live and breath the life of teachers and students to our very core, have the right to be angry at the travesties of justice we daily see before our eyes.
There are indeed limits to academic civility and these are where the struggles for real social justice begin.
7. What’s in a protest?
by Gerry Lanuza and Sarah Raymundo*
In a website about military jokes, the following can be found:
An Army recruiter delivered a windy pep talk to encourage a group of college students to join the VOLAR. But the culminating point of his oration was greeted with cat calls, whistles and projection of rotten eggs and an assortment of no less rotten vegetables and fruits.
A visitor asked a student: “Why do you throw tomatoes at the man and now you are applauding him?”
“We want an encore. I still have some tomatoes left!” explained the student.
AFP: Auckland : Around 600 anti-war protesters whistled, thumped drums and set fire to flags outside New Zealand ‘s parliament today as Australian Prime Minister John Howard met leaders inside. The protesters, who included three Green Party MPs, also hurled tomatoes onto the steps of the parliament building in a show of anger over Howard’s unstinting support for US-led military action against Iraq .
From the Philippine Daily Inquirer: STUDENTS of the University of the Philippines pelted Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. with eggs and mud on Friday inside the UP campus in Quezon City , the military said. Esperon was leaving a conference hall at the UP where he had been addressing a forum, when at least 10 students began chanting “fascist military” and throwing eggs and mud, hitting the general on his back and pants, AFP spokesperson Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro said. (Published on page A2 of the September 23, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)
So what’s in these incidents? Like the Holocaust there are various ways to interpret the UP incident.
The liberal interpretation
The APSM statement proposes the liberal neutral interpretation:
“Contrary to accusations, APSM stands for academic freedom. We believe that academic freedom means that a person, organization or institution can articulate ideas and political beliefs without the threat of being harmed in any way. In fact, the presentation of the forum is an attempt to achieve that objective. The military as an institution, just like other actors in society, deserves its right to participate in public discourse and present its ideas and policies. Fora such as the one presented promotes transparency by engaging the military in a public discussion of its ideas and policies.”
This is the usual liberal mantra: dialogue please, but no riot! So while a liberal passionately attacks ideas she dislikes and vigorously defends her own stand, she recoils quickly from asserting the consequences of her viewpoint. So let’s all work for the elimination of violence, but when this requires slightest violence, the liberal shirks. For instance, a liberal deep ecologist can retort: “How dare these green parties cause pain and suffering for those tomatoes!” to which the UP liberal animal rights advocate can rejoin: “How dare these Leftists cause pain and suffering to unhatched chicken eggs?” (which of course is questionable because the eggs are bad eggs) That’s why he is often defeated by a staunch conservative who goes through the consequences of what he believes without hesitation. Since a liberal proposes non-violent, peaceful way of resolving conflict, he is bound to be peaceful even if he knows very well that her enemy is cruel. One must be reminded here of Herbert Marcuse’s plea for intolerance:
The tolerance which is the life element, the token of a free society, will never be the gift of the powers that be; it can, under the prevailing conditions of tyranny by the majority, only be won in the sustained effort of radical minorities, willing to break this tyranny and to work for the emergence of a free and sovereign majority – minorities intolerant, militantly intolerant and disobedient to the rules of behavior which tolerate destruction and suppression.” are determined and defined by the institutionalized inequality (which is certainly compatible with constitutional equality), i.e., by the class structure of society. In such a society, tolerance is de facto limited on the dual ground of legalized violence or suppression (police, armed forces, guards of all sorts) and of the privileged position held by the predominant interests and their ‘connections’.
Can we not therefore claim that what the students displayed is a kind of “liberating tolerance”? A symbolic act to test the tolerance of the liberal tolerators?
We must insist today on the Leninist plea for intolerance and the futility of formal freedom. Formal freedom is the freedom of choice within the coordinates of the existing power relations, while actual freedom designates the site of an intervention that undermines these very coordinates. So within the so-called liberal democratic formal space, you can choose among varieties of dialogue: forum, debate, symposium, lecture, colloquium, roundtable discussion, etc. Egg-pelting? No, it’s not in the liberal’s civilized menu!
A more radical reading here presents itself: isn’t the angry protest of the students, against the sector of the military that protects the President and not the People, a real _expression of highest military honor: the principle of non-toleration of unethical behavior? And that the pelting of eggs to General Esperon is a symbolic act reminding him of the highest military valor, which is saying NO! to politicians who drag the nation to chaos and division? And if General Esperon claims he is innocent (of involving himself in electoral fraud and omission in the face of political killings), then, all the more he has to show vigorously that the military does not tolerate any form of corruption whether inside or outside the military. Any gesture short of this is to diminish military honor!
Liberals can retort: “But throwing eggs could have been substituted by throwing sour arguments against the General in the forum!” What is hypocritical here is that the liberals who flaunt this argument are doing what Lacan calls as “acting out”: two people with different, irreconcilable, political beliefs, being nice and sharing congenial glances, when there is a seething antagonism between them. What the egg-pelters accomplished is a kind of symbolic act: the suspension of the rules and assertion of one’s passion.
The “Maybe those who threw them were bad eggs” argument
According to this, UP students who participated were not representative of the entire UP system and therefore they must apologize to clear the stained reputation of UP students. The obscene supplement to this argument is the condescending (but unaristocratic statement of General Esperon): “I still have high regards for UP.” This obscene supplement flattens out the difference between Esperon’s statement and the fetishistic statement: “I still trust the electoral system even if it has room for allowing some politicians to cheat.” This obscene supplement abolishes the remainder between egg-pelting and political corruption.
What is missing in this argument is the Hegelian notion of concrete universality. The ideals of the University are empty ideals that must be filled with concrete content. Each generation of UP students must struggle to define what will count as UP values. So if academic freedom is part of UP values, then we must leave room for antagonistic negotiation on how to define this value. So the question now is this: Is the action of the egg-pelters part of that quasi-Kantian transcendental value? What must not be missed here is that the liberals and detractors of the egg-pelters had already scored points by invoking the value of academic freedom: pelting eggs to a General violates academic freedom! What an irony! The immediate task of those who are sympathetic to the incident is to claim universality on their side. “Yes, egg-pelting is part of our academic freedom!” As Marcuse argues, “According to a dialectical proposition it is the whole which determines the truth–not in the sense that the whole is prior or superior to its parts, but in the sense that its structure and function determine every particular condition and relation. Thus, within a repressive society, even progressive movements threaten to turn into their opposite to the degree to which they accept the rules of the game.” Egg-pelting is definitely a refusal to play the liberal coy game.
An Aristocratic Response, Yes, Please!
According to one of the aphorisms of the German military: “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” And Nietzsche endorses this in the Twilight of the Idols. That is why cruelty and power are so dear to Nietzsche. Miller interprets Nietzsche as saying that, “To exercise actively the will to power, he regards as the essence of life. To exercise this power with abandon is not only to court being cruel but, when cruelty occurs, to enjoy the pain the suffering, the agony that cruelty causes. “To practice cruelty is to enjoy the highest”-note the adjective: the highest -“gratification of the feeling of power.” To enjoy the exercise of power is, in effect, to be cruel. And cruelty is the virtue of the noble individuals. As Miller points out BE CRUEL in your resoluteness, welcome the harsh renunciations and sometimes brutal costs of relentlessly pursuing any vaulting ideal, be it wisdom, Godliness, or revolutionary purity. This we may call the cruelty proper to the ascetic, an eagerness to suffer the pains entailed by unswerving commitment to any burning faith or transcendent ambition.” Of course the military and the Rightist can claim they can also be cruel. This is where the liberal are out-smarted: they shy away from inflicting cruelty to realize their ideals, but the reactionaries do not!
Fabricating the Bad Egg Festival
In the age of post-politics, and what Giddens calls as post-traditional society, where new traditions are fabricated, the egg-pelting incident is a perfect candidate for staging a festival of spectacle, which eventually can rival the Tomatina (tomato battle) Festival in Bunol,Valencia, Spain, every last Wednesday of August, or the Mr. Tomato Head Festival of Ukrainians, during Indpendence Day. If Nietzsche says, “Without cruelty there is no festival,” we must also assert its obverse: “Without festival there is no cruelty.” If Ukrainians throw tomato on the picture of the most corrupt politician, and Spaniards engage in tomato battles, then the UP festival can be called the Egg-pelting at Fascists Day or Bad Eggs Festival. If the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity has the Oblation Run, then progressive students can have their own “fabricated” festival.
The One Measure of True Love Is: You Can Insult the Other
This festival should be a reminder to the future generations of UP students, that for a brief moment, the students are able to equalize the status gap between them and the highest military official, no less than the Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines . (Because if the incident happened elsewhere it could have been catastrophic!) And that UP can be a freedom zone where statuses do not matter! And that is the highest meaning of RESPECT –A VIRTUE being misrepresented by liberals, and being flaunted by the MILITARY! Esperon deserves RESPECT, yes! –BUT RESPECT ON EQUAL TERMS. As Nietzsche reminds us, respect can only be exercised among equals! THE HIGHEST FORM OF RESPECT THEREFORE IS DISREPECT! As Zizek puts it, “For me there is one measure of true love: you can insult the other… That’s the truth of it. If there is true love, you can say horrible things and anything goes.”
But then again, no activist could even imagine true love for Esperon. What is at stake in their symbolic protest, apart from staging the principle of respect on equal terms is precisely the radical youth’s intelligent idealism. Against the corrupt and criminal practices of the military apparatus, the egg-pelters staged a symbolic argument for the construction of an ideal military apparatus. They who refuse the underside of military force (read: abuse of military power) have grasped the true horizon in through which respect can be affirmed and accorded. Meanwhile, the ones who insist upon respect for an official of a corrupt institution are the ones who are, actually, disrespectful. For, it appears that they are willing to give up on their desire for another form of democracy that is supposed to be protected by the Army for the sake of good manners and right conduct. But the question is, can anyone respect predominant military practice in the Philippines ?
True love is destroying the Other’s illusion. The Other in this context is the military establishment. The students who pelted eggs to Esperon are the young radicals who have seen through the illusion: The current military establishment cannot defend the people. Therefore, the act of pelting eggs, especially to Esperon symbolizes a hopeful stance towards the military establishment: That it can be other than what it is today. An armed Forces that serve the people and not the system of private property that protects the interest of a few. As for the liberals, they are simply playing a coy game, and like the reactionaries and state functionaries from within the UP faculty, they never registered their concern when it was established that Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan were abducted. Yet lately, their mouths are frothing over the “desacralization of the University” erroneously equated with Esperon’s momentary shame.
The liberals and the reactionary fascists have indeed closed ranks on this issue. Their tantrums range from the authoritarian demand for public apology to the outright fascistic suggestion to expel the egg-pelters from the University. This, then, brings us to our desire to defend a third modality of action. The action of the community of believers, the “uncoupled outcasts” from the university’s liberal order. These are the collectivities whom the reactionaries and liberals love to warn us against. These collectivities are often constituted as monstrous. To this we assert Heiner Muller’s well-known aphorism: “The first appearance of the new is the dread.”
*The authors are faculty members of the Department of Sociology, University of the Philippines Diliman.