Gov’t workers union decries 15 ‘harassment’ cases since April
The government labor union Courage and its allied organizations have again run to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), accusing the military and the police of being behind recent “harassment” cases targeting their officers.
In a press conference on Wednesday, they cited at least five incidents this month where their officers were allegedly “stalked” by persons asking them to quit their movement and “start all over again.”
On Monday morning, for example, Kilusang Mayo Uno’s public information officer Renato Asa was leaving his Quezon City residence when he was approached by a man who introduced himself as a soldier but refused to give his name or unit, according to the labor group.
The man then offered help as he asked Asa to “cooperate before it’s too late,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay added.
On June 19, Erwin Lanuza, president of the Courage chapter in the Quezon City government, said he was on his way back to City Hall after buying food when a man in a ball cap and sunglasses approached him.
Like in Asa’s case, Lanuza said, the stranger introduced himself as a military man and told him in Filipino: “I know what you’re doing and you need to stop.” The man then gave him a handwritten note containing a cell phone number and the name “Jed.”
According to Courage national president Ferdinand Gaite, his group has monitored around 15 similar incidents involving its officers in Metro Manila since April.
Three were reported on June 16 alone. That day, the National Housing Authority’s district office in Sta. Mesa, Manila, where Courage secretary Rose Nartates works, got a surprise visit from men who claimed to be from the Manila Police District-Sta. Mesa station.
The men, who were not in uniform, said they came to offer “security education” and started taking pictures of the office, Nartates said at the press conference.
That same day, Benny Angeles, a former union leader at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, also got a visit from “Joey,” who also gave him a contact number should he decide to “return to the fold.”
Also on June 16, Courage national organizer Bob Reyes was approached by another military man at his Caloocan City home. The visitor accused Reyes of being a communist rebel, gave him a number and told him: “Call me or you’ll blame yourself if something bad happens to you.”
Courage has filed a complaint in the CHR for the incidents reported in April. Another covering “a second batch (of cases)” will be filed next week, Palabay said.
Reached for comment, Col. Harold Cabunoc, chief of the public affairs office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said “the allegations must be substantiated by the accusers” but that the AFP would punish any member found guilty of human rights violations. With a report from Cynthia D. Balana
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