Professor harassed by “cop”
CEBU, Philippines — A professor of the University of the Philippines was allegedly harassed by a policeman for wearing a Mao cap.
Professor Noe Santillan, UP faculty and vice president of the All UP Academic Employees Union (APAEU) said he was confronted and later intimidated by a policeman in plainclothes over the cap.
Santillan had just returned home to Lutopan, Toledo City, from UP after a meeting with the faculty union. He recounted that a man in civilian attire waved at him. Thinking it was a motorcycle-for-hire driver, he waved back and declined what he assumed was a ride offer.
“Pagdayon nako ug labang, iya kung gibabagan ug diretso siyang niingon nga pulis siya with his hand directly pointing to the nearest camp,” Santillan narrated.
The nearest police station was located near the Carmen Copper Corp. After blocking Santillan, the policeman then asked where he got the cap and if he knew what it meant.
“Ako, gikuyawan na ko kay aggressive na man kaayo siya. Nahulga na ko,” Santillan recalled, “mao to, ako siyang gitubag: gikan ni sa akoang kaubang professor nga nag-present ug philosophical research paper sa Beijing, China, last year during the 24th world Congress of Philosophy,” Santillan said.
Santillan teaches history in UP so he answered the policeman that he did know what the cap stood for.
The policeman further insisted that Santillan go with him to the police station and even offered to drive him there. As to what they would do in the office, Santillan said the policeman refused to answer.
He also asked the policeman for his name and photograph but was again turned down.
Santillan was able to escape from the situation by offering to meet him at the Lutopan Barangay Hall to settle the dispute with the barangay captain instead. However, Santillan did not show up and proceeded to ask help from a priest to escort him home safely.
He said he is planning to hold a dialogue among the Toledo police, members of the UP union, and the Lutopan barangay captain. He will also be consulting with his lawyers about possible charges to file against the policemen if he is identified.
“Posibleng naa silay kalapasan sa civil code ug police operations manual nga wa nag-uniform ug wala nag-introduce properly,” Santillan said.
When asked if he considers the encounter an incident of red-tagging, Santillan said he did.
“Considered siya nga red-tagging Kay ngano ipatawag man sa kampo… hulagway ni sa state fascism Kay nagtisuk ni ug kahadlok,” Santillan stressed.
A Mao cap is a green cap with a red star. It gained historical prominence after being worn by revolutionaries like Mao Tse Tung of China and Che Guevara of Argentina.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, UP Professor and AUPAEU President Regelito Imbong spoke on behalf of the union in condemning the alleged harassment of his colleague.
“The incident simply confirms how utter ignorance of world history coupled with the reinforced culture of red-tagging would eventually lead to attacks and violations,” Imbong wrote.
“Fascism has reached an incredibly unusual yet distasteful stage, where even a cap has been referred to with utter suspicion and serves as a label for whoever is an enemy of the state,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cebu Provincial Police Office director, Police Colonel Roderick Mariano, has ordered the Toledo City Police Station to verify the identity of the said policeman.
Mariano also confirmed, quoting the personnel in the Toledo Police Station, that the complainant has already filed a report regarding the incident.
“Base dun sa sinabi ng ano (personnel in Toledo), nagpa-blotter lang siya at babalik lang daw sya pag na-identify na kung pulis talaga ‘yung taong sinasabi niya,” Mariano said.
Mariano instructed the Toledo police to talk with Santillan for the proper investigation and identification of the alleged policeman who harassed him. (FREEMAN)