“The Aquino government is very active and very swift in filing trumped-up charges against labor leaders and activists but it fails to attain justice for victims of human-rights violations.” – KMU
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called for the immediate scrapping of “trumped-up charges” against three of its national leaders. They condemned the Aquino government for continuing what they call as “Arroyo-type harassment of labor leaders”.
In a statement, the KMU said three members of its National Council have been slapped with trumped up charges: (1) Ronald Ian Evidente of Negros, (2) Hermenegildo Marasigan of Southern Tagalog, and (3) Roy Velez of the National Capital Region.
Evidente and Velez were charged with robbery and multiple murder, respectively, in relation to activities of rebel group New People’s Army. Marasigan, meanwhile, was charged with assault and slight physical injury over a scuffle that ensued in an anti-militarization protest in Cabuyao, Laguna.
Aquino’s double standard
“Instead of respecting workers’ rights, the Aquino government is harassing labor leaders who fight for their rights. It is using the tactics of the Arroyo regime in trying to weaken the labor movement,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairman.
“The charges are clearly baseless and aimed at preventing our leaders from fulfilling their duties to workers and the poor. Our leaders cannot possibly be responsible for the crimes they are being accused of,” he added.
An arrest warrant dated Jan. 20, 2012 was issued against Evidente over a raid carried out by the NPA in a fishing farm in Sagay City, Negros Occidental in July 16, 2011. Evidente only learned of the warrant nine months after it was issued, on April 2012, when his co-accused, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros secretary-general Christian Tuayon was arrested.
While the arrest warrant against Marasigan was dated Aug. 2, 2012, he learned of its existence a month later. Two men in plainclothes visited his residence and told his wife that he was being “invited” to the police station.
Velez learned of the warrant of arrest against him, dated Oct. 18, about two months later, last December 5, after his co-accused Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, organizers of government employees’ group Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, were arrested on Dec. 03.
“We demand the immediate and unconditional junking of these charges. We vow to make these acts of harassment known by the local and international community and to hold sustained protests against these,” Labog said.
The labor leader condemned the Aquino government’s double standard: “The Aquino government is very active and very swift in filing trumped-up charges against labor leaders and activists but it fails to attain justice for victims of human-rights violations. It is mobilizing the police and the military against activists while failing to arrest human-rights violators like former Gen. Jovito Palparan.”