By Chito Chavez
A militant labor group promoting human rights has asked the Commission on Election (Comelec) to probe into the profiling of members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
Leody de Guzman of the Buklurang Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) also wants the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Education to divulge the reason behind the profiling of the said teachers.
He expressed grave alarm after the supposed memorandum was issued by the PNP asking the police to disclose and explain the objectives of their “highly dubious and disturbing” memorandum.
On some instances, De Guzman claimed the teachers were also presented with an endorsement letter from division officials of the DepEd urging school heads to accommodate the intelligence gathering procedures of the police.
“This is very unlikely. We have been holding elections since martial law was lifted but it has not come to the point that national police instruct its units to send text messages, hold visitations and seek the DepEd’s endorsement for them to hold an inventory of our teachers,” said De Guzman.
De Guzman even challenged the “DepEd hierarchy to justify their endorsement that may likely lead to infringement of the legitimate rights of teachers to self-expression and self- organization’’.
“On top of the vagueness of the intel memo, the DepEd endorsement letter also provided nothing urgent and concrete for them to urge school principals to accommodate the PNP’s surveillance of their employees,” he added.
Also, De Guzman feared that the police profiling does not end with the intelligence gathering operations and the subsequent intimidation of members of the teachers’ group.
He insisted that mere mention of the 2019 mid-term election in the PNP memo should send shivers down the spine of all decent, freedom-loving Filipinos.
Public school teachers sit at the electoral board which administers the conduct of elections.
“Let us remind the PNP hierarchy or even the Interior department that any link or partiality on their part to intervene in the outcome of the 2019 midterm elections whether to promote or hamper the candidacy of any aspirant is an infraction of their mandates,” De Guzman said.
The retired PNP personnel running for Senate in the mid-term elections include former PNP chief PNP and Bureau of Corrections director Ronald dela Rosa.
De Guzman has reiterated his urgent call for the poll body to intercede and hold its own immediate and impartial investigation on the issued memoranda.
He urged the Comelec to ensure that all agencies specially those under the executive department to abide by their mandates and hold them accountable for any violation of their duty to assist in the conduct of free, honest, peaceful and credible elections.