PNP – CIDG denies harassing teachers’ group official
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Wednesday denied harassing an official of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), and said operatives were merely looking into alleged threats to his life.
Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba, CIDG Deputy Director for Administration said there was no intention to unsettle Raymond Basilio, ACT Secretary General, when he was visited by the police at the ACT office in Quezon City.
Basilio earlier claimed he was approached by CIDG operatives “per order of the Office of the President,” an act he questioned and said was part of the “pursuit to harass and intimidate” members of ACT.
But in an interview with INQUIRER.net, Balba said the CIDG was only acting on a letter to the Presidential Complaint Center sent by David Edwards, who introduced himself as the secretary general of Education International based in Brussels, Belgium.
The letter dated January 21, 2019 and addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte urged authorities in the country to: Ensure the security of Basilio and protect him and other ACT members from threats and harassment; carry out independent investigations on the death threats against Basilio and on the profiling of ACT members by the police, and to prosecute those responsible; and ensure that the privacy of ACT members is respected and that any data collected illegally about them be destroyed.
In his letter, Edwards described Education International as a “global union federation of teachers and education workers” and said ACT is an “affiliate.”
According to Balba, the letter was forwarded to the Police Community Relations Group in January 23, then to the CIDG in April 29, and ultimately to the CIDG Central Metro Manila District Field Unit on May 29.
He said the CIDG personnel first visited the office of ACT on May 28, but Basilio was not around that day.
They returned on June 3 and was able to speak with the official, but the conversation was cut short because Basilio said he was about to attend a rally in Mendiola.
Balba also explained that the police only approached Basilio to gather more details about the report of Edwards regarding alleged threats to his life so they can start an investigation.
“In a nutshell, this is not to harass Mr. Basilio. We are just trying to help him and to make a response to the report of Mr. Edwards to really determine what happened,” he said.
“But we are not investigating him. Wala naman kaming masamang intention, except to help,” he added. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)