VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Ex-rebel makes sweeping, inaccurate claim on UP, PUP grads

Self-professed former communist rebel Alvin Turero's statement that students from the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) will not be able to graduate from their respective universities unless they join rallies is baseless.

STATEMENT

During the Aug. 14 hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs—which convened to discuss the missing students allegedly recruited by leftist groups-- Turero responded to Senator Christopher "Bong" Go's question on how minors are convinced into joining the leftist movement.

Turero said they take advantage of the indigent minors’ and their parents’ dreams of entering UP or PUP by offering them scholarship grants. This is a way of luring them into joining organizations such as the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and the Kabataan Partylist and its mobilizations and rallies. Turero also added:

"Sa UP kasi tsaka sa PUP, hindi pupwede diyan na grumaduate nang ‘di ka sasama sa rally (In UP and in PUP, you cannot graduate without joining a rally).”

Source: Senate of the Philippines, Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, August 14, 2019, watch from 1:13:24 to 1:13:34

This statement became a quote card the next day, posted by Facebook (FB) page Huwag Tularan. It has since been reposted by 19 other FB pages and groups, and could have reached over half a million users on the social media platform. The most relevant comments on the post were written by netizens who said they are PUP graduates but never attended any rally in the university during their stay.

FACT

The official graduation requirements of both UP and PUP do not mention joining rallies as a prerequisite to graduation.

The following provisions from Chapter 64 of the Revised Code of the University of the Philippines set the requirements necessary for a student to be eligible for graduation:

  1. Graduating students must submit a formal application for graduation to their College Dean.
  2. Candidates for graduation must have settled their deficiencies and cleared their records not later than five weeks before the semester ends.
  3. A student cannot graduate from the University unless s/he has accomplished at least one year of residency (subject to extension if necessary) which shall be done immediately before graduation.
  4. Candidates for graduation must pay the required graduation fee within the period set by the University Registrar.

Meanwhile, PUP has five requirements for its students to be qualified for graduation:

  1. A candidate for graduation should file their application for graduation with the University Registrar's Office at the start of their last semester.
  2. A student shall be recommended for graduation when they have satisfied all academic and other requirements prescribed by the University.
  3. No student shall be allowed to graduate from the University unless they have earned therein more than fifty percent (50%) of the academic units required in their curriculum.
  4. .A candidate for graduation should have their deficiencies made up and their record cleared no later than two weeks before the end of their semester.
  5. No student will be issued a diploma and a transcript of records unless they have been cleared of all accountabilities.

PUP President Emanuel de Guzman, who was present during the hearing, said the school administration instead monitors and gives warnings to professors who allow their students to go to rallies instead of coming to class.

Turero claimed that he was first recruited by the Kabataang Makabayan and the Kabataan Partylist. He later on became an organizer of the partylist himself, as well as the secretary general of Anakpawis Laguna. He said he was eventually held captive by the authorities after his armed group lost in an encounter with the military in 2012.

However, the Kabataan Partylist denies Turero’s claims of being a former member of their group. “We don't know any person named as such. It is absurd to say that PUP and UP required [sic] students to join rallies to be able to graduate. We do know that UP and PUP and many other schools foster critical thinking and encourage students to participate in nation building and genuine societal change,” Kabataan Partylist said in a text message sent to VERA Files.

Anakpawis has yet to respond to VERA Files’ inquiry on Turero being their former secretary general.

Turero, as well as Agnes Reano, Nancy Dologuin, and alias ‘Alem’--all self-avowed former recruiters and recruits of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) -- were invited to the hearing as witnesses of the supposed recruitment activities done by left-leaning groups to turn minors into armed communist rebels. The four were placed under legislative immunity by the senate committee, giving them immunity from the criminal charges they could possibly get for their testimonies during the hearing.

The viral post published by FB page Huwag Tularan on Turero's baseless statement has also reached social media users on Twitter and Reddit.

The post has been identified by Facebook as potentially false through its platform for third-party fact checkers. (See: VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program in PH explained)


Sources

Kabataan Partylist, personal correspondence, August 26, 2019.

Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Graduation Requirements, Accessed August 22, 2019.

Senate of the Philippines, Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, August 14, 2019.

University of the Philippines, Graduation Requirements, Accessed August 22, 2019.

University of the Philippines, The Revised Code of the University of the Philippines, January 9, 1961.


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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