Tuesday, March 03, 2009


The following appeal comes from the Clean Clothes Campaign. It features not just the persecution of labour lawyer Remigo Saladero, mentioned previously on this blog, but also 72 other unionists being unfairly prosecuted.

Philippine Labour Rights Lawyer Faces New Round of False Charges‏:
Within a week after being released from prison, labour lawyer Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr., and five other Philippine labour and human rights activists face another round of trumped-up charges of murder.Thanks to your previous action, Saladero was freed from prison on February 5, 2009. But your continued support is needed to ensure that he remains free. Please take action today.
Take action now at:
Saladero and others released from prison
On February 5, 2009, the regional trial court in Mindoro, Philippines announced that six detained labour and human rights activists, including Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr., were to be immediately released. Along with 66 other labour and human rights activists, the six had been charged with multiple murder and attempted murder in a New People's Army ambush in Mindoro in 2006.

The court ruled that proper legal procedures were not followed, and therefore put an end to the case against them.

This court ruling is a victory for the labour and human rights movement in the Philippines who have argued that these kind of accusations seem specifically designed to cripple the Philippine labour movement by putting activists behind bars, forcing them into hiding, and burdening their colleagues with organising a legal defense. Sadly, just barely a week after Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr. and the five other activists were released, a new murder case has been filed against them. Although no arrest warrants have yet been issued, it is clear that the Philippine authorities are determined to continue their legal offensive.
New case copy of the Mindoro accusations
The current case involves the killing of Ricky Garmino, member of the paramilitary group Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), in Rizal on July 29, 2008. Witnesses allegedly recognized 70 of the 72 labour and human rights activists named in the Mindoro case, and were able to name them in the exact same order as in the Mindoro case files. Full-time lawyers, polio and diabetes patients, and activists in wheelchairs are included in the list of accused. A preliminary investigation in this case is set on March 6 at the Rizal prosecutor's office.

Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr. and his group of lawyers have filed a petition for protection against unlawful acts of public officials (writ of Amparo) with the Supreme Court. It remains unclear whether the Mindoro case against the 72 activists will be re-filed, which could again lead to arrest warrants of all activists concerned.
Take action today
Write to the Philippine government and Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to immediately stop the persecution of labour and human rights activists.
Take action now at:http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/09-03-03.htm#action
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to Philippine authorities.
Write to the Philippine government and Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to immediately stop the persecution of labour and human rights activists.
Atty. Rafael Francisco, Chairperson of ECOP CSR Committee. Email: raf@cadp.com.ph
Jose Roland Moya, Deputy Director-General of ECOP. Email: jramoya@hotmail.com
Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines. Email: corres@op.gov.ph
CC Ms. Leila De Lima, Philippines Commission on Human Rights. Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com
CC Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Philippines Dept. of Justice. Email: raulgonzalez_doj@yahoo.com
CC Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno, Department of Interior and Local Government. Email: rvpuno@dilg.gov.ph
CC Secretary Marianito D. Roque, Department of Labor and Employment. Email: osec@dole.gov.ph

To whom it may concern,
I have been informed by the Clean Clothes Campaign that there has been a continued effort by the Government of the Philippines and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to intimidate labour and human rights activists and thwart their efforts to combat impunity for violence against labour leaders.

I have learned that due process was not followed in the recent filing of arrest warrants for 72 people, including many of the most eminent labour leaders in southern Tagalog, in the "Mindoro case". On February 5, the Regional Trial Court, in the Fourth Judicial Region, Oriental Mindoro, branch XXXIX (39), Calapan City, ruled that the case against six detained labour leaders and advocates, including Atty Remigio D. Saladero Jr., was quashed. However, within one week of their release, a total of 70 people included in the “Mindoro case”, again appear as accused under similar dubious circumstances in the murder of Ricky Garmino on July 29, 2008. Furthermore, I am shocked to learn that ECOP has stood in opposition of a formal investigation by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) into the violence against labour leaders in the Philippines. Given that the ILO is an internationally recognised and respected body, I would expect the ILO would be welcomed to the Philippines.

I send this email in the hopes that the government of the Philippines and ECOP will:
*End the campaign of intimidation against labour leaders and supporters;
*Invite the ILO to do a full independent investigation into the human rights violations in the Philippines;
*Drop all the criminal charges against and stop persecution of the labour and human rights advocates, activists and organisers included in the "Mindoro case" and the “Garmino case”.

I stand in solidarity with the workers of the Philippines and look forward to the day when they will enjoy the full benefits of internationally recognised labour rights.

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