Panelo doubts cops' presence in schools will curb Leftist recruitment

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo cast doubt on the effectivity of a proposal of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Senator Ronald dela Rosa to boost police presence in schools to curb recruitment of students by Leftist groups.

Recruitment tends to happen underground and even outside of school campuses, said the Duterte spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel on Tuesday, August 13.

"The presence of police can prevent any crime from being committed inside the campus. But recruitment? I don't think it will solve [the problem]. First of all, recruitment doesn't need to be in schools," he said during a Malacañang news briefing.

As to Año's support for the return of the Anti-Subversion Law which criminalized the act joining the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Panelo said he will ask President Rodrigo Duterte for his stance. The proposal, he said, "requires study."

In the meantime, Panelo has advice for parents of students who might be exposed to recruitment efforts by Leftist organizations.

"Our suggestions to parents is to tell their children that that ideology is long past and passé and they should not entertain joining any kind of subversive organization for their own sake," said Panelo.

The Anti-Subversion Law was repealed 3 decades ago under the Ramos administration when the government pursued peace talks with the CPP. 

Under the Duterte presidency, the Department of Justice has asked a Manila court to declare the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army, as  terrorist organizations. Duterte has accused leftists of joining forces with the opposition to oust him. 

He had sent officials to the European Union to ask institutions there to cut funding to Philippine nongovernmental organizations that the Duterte government claimed to be legal fronts of the CPP, and plotted to overthrow the government. –



Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at