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ACT to PNP: Stop normalizing highly irregular acts against teachers

Press Release
July 3, 2019

QUEZON CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines fired back at PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde for ‘deodorizing the vicious operations’ the police is carrying out against the organization ‘to make the public accept that snooping and harassment is a regular police job.’ Albayalde called ACT’s allegations filed through a supplemental petition to the Court of Appeals as ‘fabricated’, saying that PNP operations on the organization are but part of the regular ‘government profiling.’

“Since PNP launched snooping and harassment operations against ACT, Mr. Albayalde has not provided any concrete basis for their acts and arrogantly dismissed every valid and well-documented case we have bared. He has been defending their abusive operations by carrying a paranoid concept of protecting national security – one that suspects every critical citizen of being enemy of the state and therefore should be subjected to state surveillance, to the detriment of our people and our rights,” hit ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Basilio said that the confirmation of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the incidences he cited in the petition contradicts Albayalde’s accusation that ACT’s claims are fabricated. The investigation unit said it was a response to complaints received by the Office of the President regarding threats against Basilio’s life. The agency, however, denied that Basilio was harassed by their operatives.

“For the record, the CIDG operatives refused to sufficiently explain the motives of their investigation, even refusing to give me a look at the copies of the supposed orders which they say they are taking action on. Depriving me of my right to know the bases of their investigation render their actions dubious, especially that they came from the same institution whose flunked intelligence operations spurred the series of threats, harassments, and intimidation that I and other leaders suffered,” argued Basilio.

Basilio furthered that the incidence prompted them to file a supplemental petition ‘to protect ourselves from known rights violators like the police and the military.”

‘DepEd and CHEd need to explain themselves’

ACT called on the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to clarify Albayalde’s implication of the two education agencies regarding a request to do a background check on ACT members.

“This is a targeted intelligence operation, and if DepEd and CHEd have a hand in this, then they are liable to carrying out political persecution against teachers and professors. It breaches our freedom from discrimination based on political beliefs, right to free expression, freedom of association and right to self-organization,” said Basilio.

ACT urged the two education agencies to urgently issue a statement of clarification on the matter. The group further insisted that both DepEd and CHEd as their employer and as state institutions have a duty to uphold and respect human and labor rights.

“Have our education agencies willingly slid into the fold of Duterte’s violent and repressive ‘whole of nation approach’ of weaponizing the civilian bureaucracy in its rabid pursuit to suppress all forms of dissent? If yes, what a shame for institutions supposedly inculcating the principles of human rights, peace and democracy to allow itself to be used for fascistic ends,” stressed Basilio.

Basilio challenged DepEd and CHEd to ‘hold their ground and desist from being instruments to the Duterte regime’s repressive and tyrannical measures.’