August 24, 2011
At the budget hearing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio L. Tinio slammed the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the use of its intelligence funds to monitor the activities of elected solons and legitimate teacher organizations instead of lawless elements.
Citing provisions of the PNP budget, Tinio asked PNP officials as to how the P505.4 million intelligence funds are being utilized. PNP Chief Raul Bacalzo said intelligence funds are intended for lawless elements and enemies of the state.
However, Tinio refuted Bacalzo’s statement by citing firsthand account in which he and other elected representatives and legitimate teacher organizations like the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) are being subjected to the PNP intelligence operations.
He cited a memorandum issued by the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group (OMD-11-0314-045) dated March 14, 2011 with a subject “Format in Monitoring and Reporting of Mass Actions” which sought to “monitor mass actions” of legal organizations.
The abovementioned memorandum gave basis to the monitoring of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association’s activity last August 19, 2011. According to reports, the QCPSTA sought a dialogue with the GSIS officials but was prevented by the security officials from entering the premises, citing a “confidential” order.
“The memorandum sends a chilling effect to organizations and individuals who wish to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to organization, assembly, free expression and privacy,” said Tinio.
“What happened was not even a mass action but a dialogue with the GSIS officials. The teachers only wanted to peaceably assemble for the redress of their grievances to GSIS,” he added.
Tinio stressed that the memorandum violated a number of existing laws such as the right to free expression, right to privacy and right to association/organization and peaceful concerted activities, stated in the Articles 3 and 13 of the Philippine Constitution, respectively.
“This highlights the fact that the Aquino administration is monitoring of legal activities of legitimate organizations. In the process, marginalized sectors such as teachers are left with a very little avenue for their grievances,” said Tinio.
The ACT Teachers solon also brought up the monitoring and surveillance operations conducted against him and his colleagues in the MAKABAYAN coalition during a private meeting in a private office building in Quezon City last August 6, 2011.
“Why does the PNP keep on tracking the activities of the duly-elected lawmakers, as well as teachers, of this country? Why don’t you monitor the operations of criminals, killers, drug syndicates, kidnappers and their likes?” slammed Tinio.
More over, Tinio warned PNP for the perilous events brought about by the “cloak of confidentiality” given to PNP operations.
Tinio cited items under the Operations services, Police Relation Services and Investigation Services which imply that activities such as disaster preparedness and relief operations, medical-dental outreach activities and socio-cultural development among others are all confidential in nature.
“Up to 66% of the PNP budget is described as being confidential in nature. And apparently, there is a danger in giving cloak of confidentiality to all PNP operations,” said Tinio.
Due to Tinio’s compelling remarks, House Appropriations Committee Chairperson Rep. Joseph Emilio A. Abaya requested the PNP Chief “to submit possible errata and phrase properly” the said items in the DILG budget.
Tinio called for the immediate disclosure of the contents of memorandum on the Format in Monitoring and Reporting of Mass Actions and demanded to put a stop to the surveillance operations inflicted towards him, his colleagues and legitimate teacher organizations. “We will call for a deferment of the PNP budget unless we are satisfied that these intelligence funds will not be used to violate civil liberties of citizenry,” ended Tinio.#
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)