Alliance of Concerned Teachers bucks PNP profiling

January 17, 2019

THE Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) yesterday questioned before the Court of Appeals (CA) the legality of an order issued by the Philippine National Police to profile their public and private school teacher members.

In a 42-page petition, the group asked the CA to issue a writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of the PNP inventory of all teachers who belong to ACT.

Led by their national chairperson Joselyn Martirez and secretary general Raymond Basilio, petitioners also asked the CA to strike down the assailed memoranda on profiling of ACT members issued by the PNP’s intelligence units last month as unconstitutional.

ACT alleged that the PNP’s action violated their constitutional right to association, right to assembly and to petition the government for redress of grievances, right to privacy, freedom of expression and right to protection for labor.

Petitioners said the assailed order violates their rights under Article III, Section 8 in relation to Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.

“Petitioners’ militant orientation and affinity with progressive groups do not constitute acts contrary to law. Neither do its salutary advocacies warrant any state infringement and curtailment of their right to freely associate,” the group explained.

“All that petitioners have done are in furtherance of the rights and interests of teachers who have long been a marginalized and oppressed sector in the Philippines. Teachers, as we know, receive the lowest salaries among the ranks of professionals. They are exploited by their employers, whether in the public or private sectors, through long working hours and oversized classes, and are often deprived of benefits, even those that are mandated by law,” ACT pointed out.

The group further argued that it has in fact a party-list group that participated in the last three elections and “has sponsored a number of House measures espousing the right to an education that inculcates love of country, develops scientific thinking and is responsive to the cause of the marginalized and underrepresented majority of the people.”

“Instead of being recognized for their civic contributions, Petitioners’ members have been subjected to red-baiting in a manner taken out of the page of McCarthy’s book. Petitioners, like many other organizations of similar nationalist leanings, have been falsely and maliciously tagged as “communist fronts” or ‘terrorists’ on account of their political beliefs and dissension to the current administration,” they lamented.