MANILA --The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday welcomed a case filed by a teachers' organization before the Court of Appeals (CA) against the PNP's alleged profiling of the group’s members.
Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) filed a petition for prohibition, citing alleged violations of their members’ right to association and right to assembly by PNP personnel.
The petitioners are asking the government for redress of grievances, freedom of expression, and their members' right to privacy.
"I wish to emphasize that the PNP has done nothing to violate any of the rights mentioned in the petition. In fact, allegations of a police crackdown on ACT is absolutely devoid of basis or evidence and is merely a propaganda ploy to earn precious media mileage ahead of the partylist elections in May," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a news release.
Año noted that it is part of the mandate of law enforcers to gather intelligence on groups -- including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) -- that want to wreak havoc on government institutions and the general public.
"We must be reminded that intelligence gathering is a task routinely done by law enforcement officers all over the world as part of their mandate and it was CPP founder Joma Sison himself who identified the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front)," he said.
"With this, we maintain that, as stated by the Supreme Court in several of its decisions, that the right to privacy is not absolute and may nevertheless succumb to an overriding state interest deemed legitimate and compelling," he added.
Año said government law enforcement agencies will continue to do their duty to maintain peace and order and "to take all necessary steps to ensure public safety within the bounds of law." (DILG PR)