At least three police intelligence officers were sacked for allegedly leaking the results of their discreet profiling on members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said Monday.
Albayalde declined to identify the three spy cops but said they were from Manila’s Station 3, Quezon City’s Station 6 and a station in Zambales, with ranks of senior inspector to chief inspector.
Albayalde also ordered an investigation on the leak of confidential information.
The PNP chief said he signed no order to investigate ACT, but said if such an order were issued, the intelligence officers should have done their job more discreetly.
ACT, in a statement, said police officers have been approaching officials of local schools and asking for a list of ACT members in their schools.
The Commission on Human Rights, for its part, expressed concern over the profiling, saying it violated ACT members’ rights to privacy and to free association.
In a statement, Albayalde said there was no crackdown on ACT members in any school.
“What the PNP is undertaking is simply intelligence or information gathering, which is one of its major functions,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the PNP to monitor any and all groups and organizations critical of the government, especially those linked to militant organizations whose objective is to overthrow the duly-elected government.”
He said Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison himself had identified organizations with links to the rebels.
“This did not come from us or even from the military…this was the pronouncement of Joma Sison. an. He identified these organizations, not us,” he added.
The Palace said Monday members of ACT should have nothing to fear if they are not doing anything illegal.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo maintained that the PNP has already dismissed the claims that the agency has called for an inventory of all public and private school teachers who are affiliated with the ACT.
“First, the PNP has already denied that. Maybe the teachers being profiled or monitored are teachers who the PNP have suspected of doing something illegal,” said Panelo in a Palace press briefing.
“If you’re not doing anything, why should you be afraid? What’s the problem? If you’re not doing anything, nothing will happen,” he added.
Panelo, however, said ACT has long been identified with the communists.
“If you remember, ACT is a legal organization identified with the left. And the PNP and the President have also mentioned that they have legal fronts,” he said.
He said the government has no policy of keeping teachers under surveillance.
“Definitely the policy is not to surveil teachers. The President loves them. He even promised to double their salaries. If I’m not mistaken, Secretary [Benjamin] Diokno said the salary hike may be released from two or three months from now,” Panelo said.
But if teachers do something illegal, then it is “natural” for the police to monitor what they are doing, he said.
“For example, if somebody reported a teacher seen coordinating with identified New People’s Army or suspected NPA, if you were a policeman, wouldn’t you monitor what they’re doing?” he said.
Also on Monday, Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao on Monday denounced police attempts to access information pertaining to ACT members.
“Educators whether members of ACT or not should express condemnation on the attempt of the police to have access to information of teachers union membership. There’s no justification on the part of the police to do such profiling, our educators are not criminals,” Casilao said.