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Teachers urge SC: Stop PNP ‘profiling’

ACT elevates case after appellate court junks petition

The country’s largest federation of teachers has taken its challenge against the Philippine National Police to the Supreme Court.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) petitioned the high tribunal on Monday to overturn a Court of Appeals decision denying its request that memorandums from the PNP, which had ordered a sweeping inventory of its members, be declared unconstitutional.

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While the memorandums differed per region, they directed lawmen to list the names of ACT members in their areas and labelled the profiling a “priority action” to be strictly complied with.

In January, leaked copies of the directive — which was broadly seen as violating a number of human rights — caused an outpouring of anger and condemnation from agencies like the Department of Education, Commission on Human Rights and National Privacy Commission.

Dismissed on technicalities

But the case filed by ACT against the PNP, through the National Union of People’s Lawyers, was denied in February by the appellate court due to technical issues.

These included the group’s inability to provide certified true copies of the PNP memorandums and the date their legal counsels were issued a membership number by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio, who said some of these details were actually in their petition, argued that the appellate court’s decision would set a “very bad precedent” at a time when several sectors have seen heightened attacks under President Rodrigo Duterte.

“By the [Court of Appeals’] denial of our petition, 200,000 teachers nationwide were denied of relief from and protection against illegal surveillance and harassment perpetrated by the police,” said Basilio, reiterating the group’s call that the high tribunal set aside the appellate court’s final decision, which was handed down on July 24. ACT had filed an appeal in March.

The petition also included a request for the high court to issue a temporary restraining order against the profiling operations, which ACT said violated constitutional rights to association, assembly, privacy and freedom of expression.

Teachers from at least eight Metro Manila cities and seven regions said in the original petition that they were personally approached by lawmen — some as early as December — and asked to identify ACT members among their faculty.

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TAGS: ACT, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, PNP‎, Profiling, Supreme Court
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