A Statement in Support of the Persecuted Members of the U.P. Visayas Academic Community


I pray for all people of goodwill to join me in the urgent call to stop the persecution of some members of the University of the Philippines-Visayas (UPV) faculty members.

For the past weeks of July, the integrity and lives of some members of the U.P. Visayas academic community were seriously endangered by on-line red-tagging posts and abusive threats to their lives.

Through Facebook posts, UPV faculty members Professors Randy Madrid, Ruchiemar Pototanon, Early Sol Gadong, and Tomasito Talledo were accused as members of so-called “legal fronts” of the underground and as recruiters of the rebellious armed group. Prof. Tomasito Talledo was reported to have received a threat to his life few days ago.

Thus, their teaching voices have been forcibly muzzled. When life of the mind should have been nourished, the modes of learning by undergraduate, graduate students, and alumni are being suffocated breathless. We believe that the conscience of individuals, their God-endowed will to reason, and faith in UPV should be affirmed and protected.

This is no unique occurrence but the overall pattern of sowing fear against and intimidation of vocal and critical citizens of our Republic.

Our current state of precarity, the climate of impunity, emerged when laws are willfully weaponized against Life and Justice. Those oppressive regulations that were previously in place now reached its fruition with the Anti-Terrorism Law (R.A. 11479) in the iron hands of the current political dispensation. Alas, those hands wreck the ship of state that seemingly cannot reach a safe harbor. Yet we fervently hope ours is not the voyage of the damned.

The beginnings of autonomous universities can be traced back to cathedral schools of medieval Europe then sheltered under the Magisterium. With a secure Charter, Bishops rebuffed capricious intrusions of Kings in internal affairs of universities so that individual’s conscience will thrive so that faith and reason will flourish together unhindered.

When secular authorities seek to enslave freedom of the human will, more often than not, the “shepherd’s staff” is foisted ready to protect the flock. In time, our voice needs to be raised for ears and hearts to hear.

“We need to feel outraged, as Moses did, as Jesus did, as God does in the face of injustice. It is not good for us to become inured to evil” (Pope Francis).


Most Rev. Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.
Bishop – Diocese of San Carlos
CWS Co-Chairperson
(July 17, 2020)