Arrest of UP prof over ‘small’ case baffles lawyer
The arrest of University of the Philippines (UP) professor Melania Flores “does not look good,” according to labor lawyer Sonny Matula, since it was a “small” case of not being able to pay the social security contributions of a house helper.
Matula, a former commissioner of the Social Security System (SSS), said that during his term from 2006 to 2010, they usually did not file cases in court against the non-remittance of small contributions.
“When I was a commissioner, we even had cases of millions or billions of non-remittance and although there was already a warrant, it was usually not enforced,” he said.
Flores, who teaches Philippine literature at UP Diliman, was arrested on Monday from her home inside the campus in Quezon City by plainclothesmen for alleged failure to remit social security contributions of a housekeeper she employed before.
She was cited for violating Sections 22 and 28 of Republic Act No. 11199, and could face imprisonment of six months to six years.
Flores said she was unaware that there was a case against her since she was not notified by the court.
“Imagine that. If it’s a warrant of arrest, they know where my address is. But when it’s a simple court order or subpoena, they don’t?” she said at a press briefing on Tuesday after she posted bail of P72,000 late Monday afternoon.
According to Matula, the SSS also issues notices to the employers if they fail to remit the contributions “but they don’t necessarily file cases in court.”
The Inquirer sought comment from the SSS but the agency said it was still “consolidating all the needed information” at press time.
“The SSS, acting on its own without any complaint from a private person, singling out Dr. Flores for a case which has no basis is clearly an act of using the law to harass, intimidate and violate the rights of our union leaders,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.