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CA junks ACT petition.

By Rey Panaligan

On technical ground, the Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed outright the petition filed by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) to stop the Philippine National Police (PNP) from profiling and obtaining the list of its member-teachers both in public and private schools.

In a resolution written by Associate Justice Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela, the CA cited four infirmities in the ACT petition, namely:

1. "The Petition is not accompanied by certified true copies of the various assailed PNP Memoranda, in violation of Rule 65, Section 2, Rules of Court in relation to Rule 46, Section 3, Rules of Court.

2. "The Petition does not indicate the material dates when the petitioners (ACT) received the various assailed PNP Memoranda, in violation of Rule 46, Section 3, of the Rules of Court.

3. "The Petition does not indicate the current date of issuance of the IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) Membership Number of the petitioners' counsel, in violation of Bar Matter Number 287 dated 26 September 2000.

4. "The Petition does not indicate the current date of issuance of the Professional Tax Number (PTR) of the petitioners' counsel, in violation of Bar Matter Number 1132 dated 12 November 2002."

In its petition, ACT pleaded for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would stop the PNP immediately from implementing its memoranda on the inventory of the group's members.

Led by its chairperson Joselyn Martirez and secretary general Raymond Basilio, ACT assailed as unconstitutional the memoranda issued by the PNP's intelligence units on the profiling of its members.

It said the memoranda violate its members' constitutional right to association, right to assembly and to petition the government for redress of grievances, right to privacy, freedom of expression, and right to protection of labor.

It pointed out that its members are not involved in any criminal activity and the PNP's act of profiling its members violates their rights under Article III, Section 8 in relation to Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.

"Petitioners' militant orientation and affinity with progressive groups do not constitute acts contrary to law. Neither do its salutary advocacies warrant any state infringement and curtailment of their right to freely associate," it said in its petition.

"All that petitioners have done are in furtherance of the rights and interests of teachers who have long been a marginalized and oppressed sector in the Philippines. Teachers, as we know, receive the lowest salaries among the ranks of professionals. They are exploited by their employers, whether in the public or private sectors, through long working hours and oversized classes, and are often deprived of benefits, even those that are mandated by law," the group added.

ACT also told the CA that the PNP memoranda on profiling violate Republic Act No. 10173, the Data Privacy Act, which safeguards right to privacy of every individual.

"The act of public Respondents demanding a list of names of members of Petitioner ACT from different schools nationwide, including their names and other pertinent personal information without any prior consent from any of the said subjects and without any clear lawful and legal purpose constitutes a clear violation of the Data Privacy Act," it said.

"In this case, considering that the information being demanded by the assailed Memoranda pertain to both personal and sensitive information (to the extent that membership in an organization, in varying degrees, reflects the political beliefs and stand or individuals), the requirements of consent and legitimacy of the purpose are obviously not complied with," it added.

At the same time, ACT told the CA that the PNP's act of profiling its members is a "politically motivated act" that "will force or dissuade both current and prospective members to withdraw membership or join for fear of breaches not only of right to be let alone in their political beliefs, but also of their very right to live."

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Feb 7, 2019
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