Teachers score another win vs state repression 29 June 2021

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines welcomed another victory as the Olongapo city prosecutor denied the NBI’s motion for reconsideration on the inciting to sedition case it filed against Teacher Ronnel Mas.

The group hailed the decision for putting primacy on Mas’ constitutional right to liberty amid the NBI’s evident attempt to circumvent court rules and procedures.

“This win does not only favor Teacher Ronnel’s fight against state forces’ bid to persecute him, but it also serves our overall fight against the state’s desperate attempts to weaponize the law to go after critics. This is indeed another welcome development for our sector and for democracy,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Just yesterday, ACT announced the court’s junking of a trumped-up case versus its Caraga union secretary and assistant vice-principal, Teacher Rosanilla ‘Lai’ Consad.

The group said that both cases are part of the Duterte admin’s persecution of the people’s exercise of their constitutional rights.

The resolution noted the NBI’s failure to satisfy evidentiary requirements for its charges against Mas and its attempt to “shortcut the proceedings” by submitting new, yet still incomplete, information in its motion for reconsideration instead of filing a new case.

As such, the prosecutor once again denied the motion. This marks NBI’s third loss in its case against Mas.

“These decisions should serve as warnings to law enforcement agents who use and abuse judicial processes in its quest to quell the people’s justified unrest with the Duterte administration. We commend the prosecutor office’s effort to uphold judicial independence on this particular ruling, especially amid the alarming rampancy of warrant factories and dubious charges against ordinary Filipinos who are merely exercising their fundamental rights and liberties,” added Basilio.

ACT furthered that the Duterte admin has established a track record for encroaching on supposedly independent branches of government, which the group said is characteristic of a tyrannical regime.

It is in this context that ACT reiterates its call to the judiciary to ‘uphold the rule of justice’ as it performs its vital role in the government’s system of check and balance.

“The Duterte regime’s attacks on our democratic rights can be expected to further intensify in his last year in office, especially as he seeks to continue his tyrannical reign by installing his daughter and cohorts in office. We must likewise strengthen our unity and intensify our fight for justice and true democracy,” Basilio concluded.