The Alliance of Concerned Teachers on Friday appealed to the Court of Appeals to look more into “substance than technicality” of its petition to stop the Philippine National Police from profiling member-teachers.
“ACT will file a motion for reconsideration. With truth and reason on our side, so should justice be this time around,” ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said.
In a four-page resolution penned by CA’s 11th Division, Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela junked the Jan. 17 petition filed by ACT, two of its regional groups and the Manila Public School Teachers Association Inc. against the Philippine National Police’s order to compile an intelligence list of ACT teachers and affiliates in public schools.
“While ACT is yet to receive the official copy of the CA decision, we are saddened by the media reports that the honorable court has dismissed outright our petition for prohibition with urgent prayer for the issuance of temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, following the profiling being carried out by the PNP against our members,” he said.
Since the leakage of the confidential profiling memorandum, teacher-unionists from 10 regions claimed continuing surveillance and aggravating harassment against their leaders and members.
According to Basilio, he was threatened by an unidentified person while on his way home.
“There is reasonable cause for alarm and distress among teachers, especially since state-perpetuated attacks persist despite exposés, legal cases, and local and international outrage,” he noted.
“It is in this context that we fervently urge the CA to take into account and give more weight to substantive considerations over technicality issues. Teachers’ fundamental rights to association, free expression, and privacy are at stake. Such decision might send the wrong message that illegal profiling of legitimate organizations and common citizens is all right, and it may further embolden the PNP in their illegal surveillance activities against civilians,” he added.
As this developed, the Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) dismissal of the ACT petition.
“The PNP welcomes the denial by the Court of Appeals of the petition filed by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) seeking court action against the lawful performance of duty by the PNP to protect the state from its enemies,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Bernard Banac said in a message sent to reporters on Friday.
“We maintain that all our activities and operations are well within our lawful mandate and constantly under the presumption of regularity,” Banac added.
Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said the ACT’s petition against the PNP is based on “malicious and groundless accusations”.
Malaya also expressed dismay over the ACT’s move to politicize the issue by going to the courts to attract media mileage and recall as the midterm elections nears.
“More than pointing out their petition’s infirmities that clearly violated the Rules of Court, it becomes clear as day that the petition they submitted to the Court is indeed nothing but propaganda to gain some publicity especially now that we are months away from the partylist elections,” Malaya said.
In a four-page resolution dated February 4, the CA’s 11th Division cited shortcomings in ACT’s petition, including its failure to include certified true copies of the memoranda supposedly issued by the PNP’s intelligence units.
CA Associate Justices Ricardo Rosario, Nina Antonio-Valenzuela and Perpetua Atal-Pano explained that the petition failed to meet the requirement under Rule 65, Section 2 in relation to Rule 46, Section 3 of the Rules of Court. These rules require that “the petition shall likewise be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto.”
The court also cited the failure of ACT to state material dates in their petition, specifically the dates when the petitioners received the various assailed PNP memoranda.
It stressed that the petition likewise did not include the “current date of issuance of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines membership number of the petitioners’ counsel” and “the current date of issuance of the Professional Tax Number of the petitioners’ counsel” in violation of Bar Matter No. 287 dated Sept. 26, 2000 and Bar Matter No. 1132 dated Nov. 12, 2002, respectively.
The ACT filed a petition for prohibition, citing alleged violations of their members’ right to association and right to assembly by PNP personnel.
The petitioners were asking the government for redress of grievances, freedom of expression, and their members’ right to privacy. With PNA