UP professor arrested for alleged non-remittance of SSS contributions
MANILA, Philippines — A University of the Philippines professor and former union leader was arrested on Monday over alleged non-remittance of Social Security contributions, said the police.
The Quezon City Police District in a report said 58-year-old Melania Flores, who was the former president of the All UP Academic Employees Union, was nabbed in her residence at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.
Flores was arrested for allegedly violating the Social Security Act, particularly the section pertaining to the remittance of monthly contributions for self-employed Social Security System members, according to police.
It further noted that Flores was arrested upon a warrant issued by Hon. Maria Gilda Loja Pangilinan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 230 of Quezon City, with a recommended bail of P72,000.
Lapses, questionable arrest
According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Flores was taken by four plainclothes-wearing officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police who had “falsely introduced themselves as personnel of the Department of Social [Welfare] and Development giving out financial aid to gain entrance into Prof. Flores’ home.”
“Upon entry, they presented Prof. Flores [with] a warrant of arrest and seized her without sufficiently explaining the nature of the case accused of her,” it said in a social media post.
ACT blasted the police for the arrest, noting that it was a “gross violation” of the UP – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Accord of 1992, which states that entry of the PNP into the UP Diliman campus should not be done without prior notice.
“Prof. Flores’ right to due process was violated as she had no idea that there is a pending case against her nor had she received any notice or subpoena regarding it. There is outright deception on the part of the arresting officers who misrepresented themselves as DSWD personnel to gain access to her home and brazenly arrest Prof. Flores,” it further argued.
ACT then stressed that the arrest is an “abominable attack by state security forces against teacher and union leader Professor Flores to harass and intimidate her and violate her basic rights.”
In a separate Facebook post, UP Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota trumpeted the call for an investigation on Flores’ arrest inside the UP campus which, he similarly noted, was done with no prior coordination with school authorities.
He pointed out that the arrest “comes in the wake of a series of documented cases of harassment and intimidation against UP constituents–the latest being the abduction of UP Cebu lecturer Armand Dayoha and alumna, Dyan Gumanao on January 10.”
READ: Abducted Cebu activists recount 6-day ordeal
This, Ramota said, further intensifies the need to institutionalize a mechanism that monitors and quickly responds to human rights violations.
The UP Diliman University Student Council has likewise sounded the alarm on Flores’ arrest as it renewed the call to uphold academic freedom and establish schools as safe spaces.
“Tinatawagan ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan na kondenahin ang mapanlinlang na panghuhuli kay Prop. Flores at ipanawagan ang kagyat niyang pagpapalaya, kasabay ng patuloy na pagtangan sa ating laban para sa kalayaang akademiko at kaligtasan sa pamantasan,” the UPD USC said in a tweet.
(We are calling on the Iskolar ng Bayan to condemn the deceptive arrest of Prof. Flores and demand her immediate release, while continuously keeping on in the fight for academic freedom and safe campuses.)
Kung kaya't tinatawagan ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan na kondenahin ang mapanlinlang na panghuhuli kay Prop. Flores at ipanawagan ang kagyat niyang pagpapalaya, kasabay ng patuloy na pagtangan sa ating laban para sa kalayaang akademiko at kaligtasan sa pamantasan!
— UP Diliman University Student Council (@USCUPDiliman) February 6, 2023
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