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Marya Salamat wrote this article for Bulatlat on the recent arrest of three labor union leaders affiliated with the national democratic labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU):
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.
“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.
“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.”