A UST SENIOR High School (SHS) student was penalized with non-readmission next academic year after admitting openly that he was a member of a leftist youth organization not recognized by the University.

Datu Zaldy “Shoti” Ampatuan, head councilor of UST-SHS Provisional Student Council, said he was issued a show-cause notice on Dec. 14, 2020.

This was after he mentioned that he was a member of Anakbayan UST-SHS in a Facebook post in November, where he advocated for an “academic ease” as typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” battered the country.

THE CAPTION IN QUESTION. UST Senior High School Datu Zaldy “Shoti” Ampatuan was penalized with non-readmission after including in the caption of his Facebook profile photo that he is a member of Anakbayan UST-SHS, an organization unrecognized by UST.

Ampatuan said he was told by the SHS Student Welfare and Development Board that his affiliation with Anakbayan UST-SHS was a breach of the Code of Conduct provision on camaraderie, which states: “The students shall join or form only student organizations whose objectives uphold the vision and mission of the University. Students shall join only organizations duly recognized by the University.”

Penalties for membership in “illegal organizations, in sororities/fraternities that are prohibited by the University or not officially recognized by the University” include “suspension, non-readmission, or exclusion depending on the gravity and number of offense/s.”

In his response to the board, Ampatuan said he joined Anakbayan in his “personal capacity, as a Filipino citizen, simply exercising … civil liberties enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, the highest law of the land.”

He also said no Filipino citizen should be persecuted for merely exercising rights.

“I would like to clarify in no uncertain terms that I did not intend to deliberately violate the Code of Conduct of the University. As such, I apologize for any misunderstanding that my post may have caused,” he added.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Ampatuan said he would be unable to get a certificate of good moral character because of the violation.

Ampatuan said he was merely advocating for academic ease as it was a “timely and relevant issue” and that he believed membership in an unrecognized organization should not be considered misbehavior.

“My intention as regards the Facebook post was to call for academic ease, given the fact that the country experienced two typhoons in the same month […] which have caused massive devastation on the lives of Filipinos, including Thomasians. I believe that advocating for academic ease was a timely and relevant issue,” he told the Varsitarian

Ampatuan also defended his membership in Anakbayan, saying the leftist organization “has served as a democratic space for me and others as well in order to be at the forefront of transformation.”

Ampatuan claimed that his public views on sociopolitical issues drew the ire of some school officials, whom he did not name.

“I believe that not all members of the University ‘yung nagiging perpetrators ng repression pero may iilan po na kapag nakikita lang po nilang nagsasalita ang mga lider-estudyante patungkol sa sociopolitical issues (which concerns us as a whole), nagiging alarmed po sila,” he explained.

In response to the incident, Anakbayan UST-SHS organized a social media rally, calling on the University to “stop student repression.”

Anakbayan UST-SHS released a statement lashing out at the University for its handling of Ampatuan’s case.

“[H]undreds of students not only in the SHS department but also other colleges are members of (non-governmental) and charitable organizations. Why pinpoint this student and this student only?” the organization questioned.

The Varsitarian sought the UST-SHS administration for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.


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