Police intel on hunt for members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers

Inday Espina-Varona

Posted at Jan 06 2019 01:36 AM | Updated as of Jan 07 2019 02:23 PM

Philippine National Police (PNP) intelligence operatives have been visiting schools nationwide, asking for “an inventory” of members or allies of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT),” officials of the 180,000-member association told ABS-CBN News.

In an interview, ACT secretary-general Raymond Basilio said reports have poured in from Tarlac, Bulacan, Cebu, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Zambales, Manila, Navotas, Malabon and Agusan del Sur since the start of 2019.

“Some areas, like Manila and Zambales, even have memo from the division offices of the Department of Education,” Basilio said.

“In other cities, there is no memo, but requests come in via SMS or messages to mobile phones of via Facebook messenger and some orders are verbal.”

At least three schools in Manila’s third district received visits from police intelligence officers, Manila Public School Teachers Association president Solita Diaz also confirmed in an interview.

Police officers visited Cecilio Apostol Elementary School in Santa Cruz, Lakandula Elementary School in Tondo and Avancena High School on Friday, January 4.

Diaz said all three schools are under district three, in Manila’s old downtown area.

ACT national chairperson Joselyn Martinez told ABS-CBN News that police intelligence officers also visited Maysilo Elementary School in Malabon on Thursday, January 3, and Villamor High School in Tondo.

Police also talked to the teacher federation heads of Las Piñas and Antipolo, she added.

Lito Resaba, Antipolo teachers' federation president, told ABS-CBN News two police officers, a man and a woman, visited him at the Juan Sumulong Elementary School on Thursday, January 3, at about 2 p.m.

"They were polite, said they were only following instructions," Resaba said. "But they only flashed some memo on a mobile phone, that I could not read."

He initially told them to come back on Tuesday, January 8, but later told them of ACT's decision to reject the request.

"They took it calmly," Resaba said.

ACT and the MPSTA supplied to ABS-CBN News copies of orders from Chief Inspector Rexson C. Layug, head of the Manila Police District Intelligence Branch, and Zambales province police intelligence head Chief Inspector Pancho Dasca Doble.

ACT and the MPSTA supplied to ABS-CBN News copies of orders from Chief Inspector Rexson C. Layug, head of the Manila Police District Intelligence Branch, and Zambales province police intelligence head Chief Inspector Pancho Dasca Doble.

ACT and the MPSTA supplied to ABS-CBN News copies of orders from Chief Inspector Rexson C. Layug, head of the Manila Police District Intelligence Branch, and Zambales province police intelligence head Chief Inspector Pancho Dasca Doble.

ACT and the MPSTA supplied to ABS-CBN News copies of orders from Chief Inspector Rexson C. Layug, head of the Manila Police District Intelligence Branch, and Zambales province police intelligence head Chief Inspector Pancho Dasca Doble.


Orders


ACT and the MPSTA furnished ABS-CBN News copies of orders from Chief Inspector Rexson C. Layug, head of the Manila Police District Intelligence Branch and Zambales province police intelligence head, Chief Inspector Pancho Dasca Doble.

Their orders are similar, citing memos from the regional intelligence division office, with a reference to “2019 mid-term elections.”

Doble’s December 27 order additionally cited a December 10, 2018, order from the national directorate for intelligence.

The MPSTA, in addition, had a copy of a January 4 order from Manila Assistant Schools Division superintendent Sheryll T. Gayola.

Gayola, officer in charge while superintendent Jenilyn Rose B. Corpuz is on leave, furnished principals of Manila schools with Layug’s December 26 memorandum and ordered “appropriate action.”


Denials, confirmation


National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, denied ordering the school visits.

“Walang order, hindi ko alam iyan,” Eleazar said. (I have not issued any order. I do not know anything about that.)

Manila police district head, Supt. Vicenta Dupa Danao, Jr., also said he had never issued an order, nor had seen the Layug document.

When shown the document, Danao said it was his first sight of it. He did not, however, question the authenticity of the document.

ABS-CBN News also called the NCRPO’s Intelligence Office for a response from its top officers, division head Senior Supr Glicerio Cansilao, and his deputy, Sr. Supt Bernard Yang.

A PO3 Leope Santos called back to ask for the document. ABS-CBN News read the contents to him. He has yet to return subsequent calls and text messages.

But Doble, the intelligence chief of the Zambales provincial police, confirmed the document passed on by ACT was genuine.

“We’re just following orders,” Doble said in a phone interview.

Asked what was the reason for the “inventory”, Doble replied: “You don’t ask why. It’s up to the region. We only pass the order to the stations.”

When asked about the reference to the mid-term elections cited in his memo, Doble refused to give details.

Basilio said a police officer in General Santos also confirmed receiving the order but refused to divulge details.
 

Attacks on militants


President Rodrigo Duterte, military officials and national police officials have been attacking legal militant organizations as “fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The President in December vowed to decimate Asia’s longest-running insurgency, including militant legal organizations, referencing the bloodbath that happened in Indonesia during the time of President Soeharto in the mid-1960s.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has also confirmed and justified Duterte’s order, claiming groups out to oust the President are enemies of the people.

The order to destroy front organizations includes militant party-list groups which have consistently won seats in the House of Representatives since the 1990s.


Tokhang redux


The ACT is the accredited and sole regional union of teachers in the National Capital Region, as well as Regions 5, 6, 7 and 11.

“We are also the only registered union in other regions, where we are working to be accredited,” Basilio said.

The ACT is separate from but allied with the ACT Teachers party, which currently has two lawmakers, Representatives France Castro and Antonio Tinio.

Castro warned that education officials who forward to intelligence units the private information of teachers could face administration or criminal raps.

She urged officials and school administrations to “fight for the rights of teachers.”

Castro also said the collection of lists is in line with the strategy of Tokhang, the fulcrum of Duterte’s drug war that has killed thousands of mostly poor Filipinos.

The MPSTA, a recognized division chapter of ACT, sent the DepEd’s Manila School Division Office a strongly worded letter on Friday, January 4.

It demanded the revocation of Gayola’s memo and denouncing its “complicity” in “state-perpetrated harassment, intimidation and repression” of ACT members.

“Teachers have the right to self-determination,” stressed the letter signed by Diaz. “Schools are supposed to be havens of learning and zones of peace.”

Protests loom

Martinez told ABS-CBN News the teacher’s organization that two police intelligence officers in civilian clothes visited Maysilo Elementary School and asked the principal for the names and residential addresses of ACT members.

The principal referred them back to the division office, Martinez said.

“They said they had a letter but that it was confidential and did not let the principal read it,” she added.