Attempt to jail unionist teacher, a harassment, groups say

Just two days after President Rodrigo Duterte ranted against so-called front organizations of the New People’s Army (NPA), state security agents in plainclothes attempted to arrest a unionist and public school teacher with a defective warrant.

In a statement released by ACT Teachers Partylist, Alliance of Concerned Teachers-NCR union president and public school teacher Joselyn Martinez was subjected to surveillance and was followed around the school sometime between 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. by three policemen who were wearing civilian clothes.

The three policemen then served her a warrant of arrest, named after a certain “Joselyn Ramirez.” They insisted on arresting her even while she was holding a class despite presenting her identification card that bore her name.

ACT Teachers Partylist said Martinez noted that most of the text of the warrant “can hardly be read due to the poor quality of the printing.”

The partylist group attributed the attempted arrest of Martinez to her strong advocacy for teachers’ rights and welfare.

“This is a clear case of political harassment against union teacher-leaders,” said ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, adding that an attack against one union leader is an attack to the entire union they represent.

Castro reiterated the rights of those in the public sector to organize and form unions, adding that the attempted arrest of Martinez was intended to “subdue and pacify them.”

As of this writing, the Department of Education and the Department of Budget and Management has yet to fully implement the provisions stipulated in the Collective Negotiation Agreement, which, among others, provide public school teachers much-needed benefits such as overtime pay and medical check-up.

“This attempted arrest is intended to impede her from fulfilling union work and to send a chilling signal to all union leaders and its members,” Castro said.

In a statement, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) also denounced the attempted arrest of the Mathematics teacher.

“It comes just two days after Pres. Duterte’s latest rant against perceived leftist organizations whose only offense is to stand against any move towards tyranny and dictatorship,” MAT added. (RPRD News)

Photo courtesy of ACT Teachers Partylist

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