PNP lauds CA decision junking teachers' group suit

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

February 8, 2019, 12:58 pm

MANILA -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed the Court of Appeals' (CA) dismissal of the petition filed by a militant group, which questioned its supposed conduct of surveillance and profiling of public and private school teachers.

“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. (PNA)