Groups slam UP prof’s arrest

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Groups slam UP prof�s arrest
This undated photo shows the University of the Philippines' campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Progressive group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) condemned yesterday the arrest of University of the Philippines (UP) professor Melania Flores in Quezon City for supposedly violating the law on remittance of Social Security System contributions.

Flores, 58, former president of All UP Academic Employees Union, was apprehended by operatives of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD)’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at her house in Barangay UP Campus at around 11:45 a.m.

Five police officers served a warrant for the arrest of Flores for allegedly violating Republic Act 8282 or the Social Security Act.

The arrest warrant was issued by Judge Maria Gilda Loja-Pangilinan of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 230. The court recommended bail of P72,000 for the professor’s temporary liberty.

Flores was brought to the QCPD headquarters at Camp Karingal for documentation.

ACT said the CIDG violated the 1992 accord between UP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which prohibits the police from arresting a person on the campus without prior advisory and coordination with the university.

According to the teachers’ group, the arresting officers, who were in civilian clothes, posed as personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) who were giving ayuda or relief assistance.

Once the arresting officers entered the house of Flores, they showed an arrest warrant without explaining to her why she was being arrested.

Human rights group Karapatan slammed the police for arresting Flores.

Women’s group Gabriela also condemned the arrest.

“We strongly condemn the illegal arrest of Flores, a unionist and UP professor, inside the university,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said in a statement.

Flores is a faculty member of the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature in UP Diliman.

“Her right to due process was violated. She was not aware of any complaints filed against her. She was not given any notice or subpoena before the issuance of the arrest warrant. The arresting officers also glaringly duped her by posing as personnel of the DSWD,” ACT said.

“This was a repulsive move by state security forces against a teacher and a union leader to harass and intimidate her,” the group added. – Emmanuel Tupas, Sheila Crisostomo

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