Teachers receive death threats; suffer red-tagging from educ official
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) officers revealed receiving death threats through phone calls this morning.
In a statement, ACT in Central Luzon said Raymond Basilo, ACT national secterary general, as well as three members of their regional executive board received separate calls and text messages from a person who alternately introduced himself as Juvy Canete, Henry Pimentel of Davao and Lt Guerrero.
Using mobile phone number 0949-5628576, Canete/Pimentel/Guerrero said he and others have been contracted to kill the teacher leaders.
“May apat na tirador kami na pinadala diyan sa Luzon para ipatumba [ka] at lahat ng miyembro ng pamilya mo,” one of the phone calls said.
ACT said the calls started at nine o‘clock, first to ACT Region III president Romly Clemente.
At 9:34 am, ACT Region III secretary Mathew Gutan received a call from “Pimentel” who threatened him and his whole family, adding he had an hour to pay P6,000 for each of his family members to be spared.
At 9:47am, the same number called Basilio, but this time identifying himself as Lt. Guerrero, saying, “Handa ka na.”
The last call came at 10:20 to ACT Region III coordinator Aurora Santiago, issuing death threats to her and her family, asking her to give money in order for the “hit” not to take place.
ACT said the calls came after retiring Department of Education Region III director Beatriz Torno red-tagged the group, publicly alleging some of ACT members are New People’s Army (NPA) fighters.
Education officer red-tags ACT
In a February 6 forum of the Pampanga Press Club (PPC), Torno said that almost all provinces in Central Luzon are infiltrated by teachers who belong to ACT and are alleged NPA members, the Philippine Star reported
Torno did not say where she got the information nor could she give figures on how many ACT members in her region allegedly belong to the NPA, the report added.
ACT said Torno’s allegations are condemnable.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the act of our DepEd Regional III Director Beatriz Torno for her public statement categorically tagging ACT Region III as being infiltrated by the communist New People’s Army,” Mathew Guetan Santiago, the group’s regional secretary-general said.
“This statement is highly irresponsible, baseless, and downright malicious! It does not only malign the good name of our Union but worse, it also puts in danger the life and security of our members who might be subjected to possible harm for being labelled as NPA members,” he added.
The group said they talked to the official to seek clarification who reportedly denied having uttered derogatory statements against ACT.
“She also promised to issue a disclaimer through the media but she failed to do so,” ACT said.
ACT said it filed a complaint against Torno with the Ombudsman yesterday using a video recording of her public pronouncement posted on DepEd Region III website.
The group added they aim to make Torno criminally and administratively liable for her irresponsible and false accusation against ACT and its members.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)