The Supreme Court has denied the amparo petition filed by human rights lawyer and suspected communist rebel Remigio Saladero Jr. on the ground that a criminal case has already been filed against him.

Considering that a criminal action has been commenced against petitioner, the Court resolved to deny the instant petition for non-compliance with the Rule on the writ of amparo,” the court said in its minute resolution.

In the same resolution, the court also turned down Saladero’s request to stop government authorities from arresting him in connection with arson, multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges filed against him.

Police arrested Saladero, counsel for the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, on October 28, 2008 in his Antipolo office on allegations that he was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) involved in a string of criminal offenses. He was released last February 5.

In his petition before the tribunal, Saladero claimed he has been deprived of due process, liberty and security when law enforcers arrested him based on trumped-up charges.

Named respondents in the suit were Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, National Police chief Director General Jesus Versoza, Armed Forces chief Gen. Alexander Yano, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) chief Romeo Prestoza, and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.

Also named respondents were Provincial Prosecutors Josephine Caranzo-Olivar of Oriental Mindoro and Edgardo Bautista of Rizal province, who issued an order for his arrest in connection with the cases filed against him.


Barely a week after labor lawyer Remigio Saladero, Jr. and five other activists from Southern Tagalog were released from prison, another murder case has been filed against them.

Barely a week after labor lawyer Remigio Saladero, Jr. and six other activists from Southern Tagalog were released from prison, another murder case has been filed against them.

Saladero, chief legal counsel of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU-May First Movement); Emmanuel Dionida, executive director of Labor Education Advocacy Development Response Services (LEADERS); Rogelio Galit, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (Kamagsasaka-Ka or Farmers’ Federation in Cavite); Nestor San Jose, leader of the Southern Tagalog Transport Sector Organization (Starter); Crispin Zapanta, member of Bayan Muna (People First); Arnaldo Seminiano, organizer of the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa (IBM or Light and Unity of Workers); and Leonardo Arceta, a labor organizer, were released Feb. 5 after Judge Manuel C. Luna, Jr. of Branch 39 of the Calapan City Regional Trial Court quashed the amended information in the multiple murder and frustrated multiple murder charges against the seven activists.

The seven were among the 72 respondents to the charges in connection with the March 3, 2006 ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) against policemen in Calapan City. The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In a statement, Maricel, Saladero’s wife and spokesperson of Free Atty. Saladero et al Coalition said that a friend of his husband informed them about another murder case, this time filed in Rodriguez, Rizal province, against the labor lawyer and four other activists.

We haven’t thanked yet those who supported us in the campaign for his release and here is another case,” Maricel lamented.

New murder case

The case involved the killing of Ricky Garmino, 37 and a member of Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) in Rizal, allegedly by elements of the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command of the NPA on July 29, 2008.

Except for Seminiano of IBM-KMU, the other Mindoro detainees such as San Jose, Galit, Zapanta and Dioneda, and the rest of 72 Southern Tagalog activists were implicated in the new Rizal murder case.

In a sworn statement dated July 30, 2008, Adelia Garmino, victim’s wife and complainant alleged that she saw her husband tied and being taken outside their house away by more or less 30 men in soldier’s uniform and some were in civilian clothes. While her husband was struggling he was shot by men whom she alleged as NPA.

In a separate statement, a certain Braulio Tambong y Bustamante said that on Aug.1, 2008, men and women who introduced themselves as soldiers went inside the yard and killed Garmino. Bustamante said Garmino always mentioned the names of Saladero and other Southern Tagalog activists during their conversations.

Ronnie Garmino, the victim’s brother, claimed that the victim was visited thrice by some elements of the NPA and that he was able to remember almost all of their faces.

Ronnie narrated that around 1 p.m. of July 29, he saw his brother who was tied up and being carried to a stream where he was hiding. He claimed further that the two men carrying his brother were San Jose and Romie Aguilar, and the one who shot Ricky at his left shoulder was Julio Atienza.

Aguilar is a leader of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Rizal who is now in a wheelchair due to diabetes.

According to Ronnie, there were about 20 NPA rebels who accompanied Atienza in killing his brother. He identified the 70 names and their alleged aliases, in the same order as they were written in the information for the Mindoro multiple murder and frustrated cases. The case is filed at the Rizal Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Pasig City.

Incredible coincidence

Daisy Arago, executive director of the Quezon city-based labor rights organization, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and convener of Free Atty Saladero et al Coalition, “”For a fulltime lawyer, a columnist, resource person in paralegal training, a diabetic and survivor of two strokes, such allegations against Atty. Saladero are incredibly unbelievable if not plain stupid. You see a pattern here, all the 72 accused except for two persons are the same respondents in the Rizal murder case. This is an incredible coincidence, if you can call it that.

It is really absurd that human rights defenders like Atty. Saladero and five others get arrested and detained for several months for trumped up charges, released on technical grounds only to be surprised by another murder case linked to an alleged NPA activity in another province and forced to live a life on the run,” Arago added.

Before the filing of charges in relation to the Mindoro incident, Saladero and 26 other activists were slapped with arson, destruction of property and conspiracy to commit rebellion in connection with the burning of Globe telecommunications towers allegedly by the NPA in Batangas on August 3, 2008. The 27 were also accused in the Mindoro case.

The CTUHR reported that on Feb. 11, police mobile patrol cars drove around Saladero’s office at E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City. Tinted vehicles and motorcycles without plate numbers frequented the area. Suspicious-looking men watching the entrance and clients going inside and outside the office were spotted.

Writ of amparo

Lawyer Noel Neri, Saladero’s counsel and colleague at the PLACE, said, “They will continue and will surely find way to detain them again.

Saladero and other activists filed a petition for writ of amparo at the Supreme Court, Feb. 16.


NAGSAMPA ng petisyon para sa writ of amparo sa Korte Suprema si Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr., chief legal counsel ng Kilusang Mayo Uno at kolumnista ng Pinoy Weekly, na nahaharap sa panibagong kasong murder mahigit isang linggo pa lamang matapos mapalaya sa bilangguan.

Ayon kay Maricel Saladero, asawa ng abogado at tagapagsalita ng Free Atty. Saladero et. al. Coalition, sinisimulan pa lamang ulit ni Atty. Saladero na magtrabaho sa kanyang opisina sa Quezon City nang sabihang may kaso laban sa kanya na isinampa sa Rodriguez, Rizal.

May kinalaman ang kaso sa pagpatay kay Ricky Garmino, 37-anyos na miyembro ng Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) diumano ng Narciso Antazo Aramil Command ng New People's Army noong Hulyo 29, 2008.

Akusado rin sa nasabing kaso ang iba pang mga lider-aktibista ng Timog Katagalugan na sinampahan ng umano'y gawa-gawang kriminal na mga kaso.

Noong Pebrero 5, pansamantalang pinalaya si Atty. Saladero at kapwa mga detenido sa Mindoro Provincial Jail na sina Arnaldo Seminiano, Nestor San Jose, Rogelio Galit, Crispin Zapanta, at Emmanuel Dionida.

Inaresto sila sa kasong multiple murder at multiple frustrated murder kaugnay ng pananambang diumano ng mga NPA sa Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental noong 2006.

"Para sa isang abogado, kolumnista, resource person sa mga pagsasanay na paralegal, diabetic, at survivor ng dalawang stroke, hindi kapani-paniwala ang mga alegasyon laban kay Atty. Saladero. Makakakita ka ng pattern. Yung 72 pa rin, maliban sa dalawa, ang akusado sa kasong murder sa Rizal," ayon kay Daisy Arago, executive director ng Center for Trade Union and Human Rights.

Dagdag pa ni Arago, bahagi pa rin ang kaso ng pampulitikang persekusyon ng gobyernong Arroyo sa mga aktibista.

Ayon kay Atty. Noel Neri ng Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center, "Gagawa at gagawa sila (gobyerno) ng paraan para muling madetine sina Atty. Saladero."

Sa kabila ng panghaharas sa kanya, patuloy pa ring nagsusulat ng kolum sa Pinoy Weekly si Atty. Saladero. Noong Pebrero 13, inilunsad ang aklat niyang pinamagatang Husgahan Natin, kalipunan ng mga kolum hinggil sa mga isyu at kasong manggagawa simula 2002.

source: By Ronalyn V. Olea | human Rights Watch |

February 07, 2009. Seven detained activists slapped with murder charges were ordered released, February 5. Now released from detention, they are planning to file counter charges against state security forces and state prosecutors who were responsible for their arrest.

Released from detention at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail are Remigio Saladero Jr., chief legal counsel of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU-May First Movement); Emmanuel Dionida, executive director of Labor Education Advocacy Development Response Services (LEADERS); Rogelio Galit, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (Kamagsasaka-Ka or Farmers’ Federation in Cavite).

Nestor San Jose, leader of the Southern Tagalog Transport Sector Organization (Starter); Crispin Zapanta, member of Bayan Muna (People First); Arnaldo Seminiano, organizer of the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa (IBM or Light and Unity of Workers); and Leonardo Arceta, a labor organizer, were also released.

The seven were among the 72 respondents to three multiple murder and three frustrated multiple murder cases filed in relation to a March 3, 2006 ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) against policemen in Calapan City. The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Court decision

In his decision, Judge Manuel C. Luna, Jr. of Branch 39 of the Calapan City Regional Trial Court quashed the amended information in the case against the 72 activists. Luna pointed out that the rules of court requires that a complaint or information must charge but one offense.

In a press conference Febuary 6, Saladero said, “Nakita ng judge na hindi marunong gumawa ng kaso ang prosecutor. Pinagsama ang anim na kaso sa isang information.” (The judge was able to see that the prosecutor did not know how to file charges. Six charges were filed based on one information.)

In an interview with Bulatlat, Lawyer Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) said of the court decision, “Kahit paano, masaya. Nakalaya na sila.” (Somehow, we are happy. They have been freed.)

Pastores added though that they find the basis for the court decision lacking. “In the first place, the case is fabricated. The judge could have dismissed it for lack of probable cause.”

Pastores said the PILC will file a motion for partial reconsideration. “The case is not yet dismissed. The information may be re-filed.

Counter charges

Saladero said they will file counter charges against the arresting officers.

He said all of them were deprived of their rights provided for in the Miranda doctrine. He added that all of them were served with defective warrants of arrest containing misspelled names and incorrect addresses.

Saladero recalled that it took five to six hours after his arrest before he was accorded his right to a phone call. He was arrested on October 23, 2008 from his home in Antipolo City, Rizal.

He added that the police took away his laptop, the central processing unit of his computer and their family album. “Pagnanakaw na ang kanilang ginawa.” (What they did was already looting.)

Saladero asserted, “Dapat matanim sa isip ng mga pulis na may karapatan din ang mga inaaresto. At ang paglabag sa karapatang iyan ay may kaukulang parusa.” (The police should inculcate in their minds that suspects have rights, too. And a violation of any of those rights has a corresponding punishment.)

Meanwhile, Pastores said they will consider filing administrative charges against the public prosecutors. “They did not study the case. There were many irregularities such as in the conduct of preliminary investigation.

Pastores said the counter charges will teach the prosecutors a lesson.

Abolish IALAG

Saladero said further, “Nakita natin kung paano gamitin ng rehimeng Arroyo ang ligal na proseso para sa iligal na bagay. Nakita natin ang kabulukan ng sistema na matagal na naming sinasabi.” (We witnessed how the Arroyo regime utilized the legal process for illegal purposes. We witnessed the rottenness of the system that we have long been exposing.)

Speaking at the press conference, Cherry Clemente, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) secretary general, called anew for the abolition of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG). Created by virtue of Executive Order 493, which was issued on January 17, 2006, the IALAG is headed by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. The task of the IALAG, said Clemente, is to legally harass and file cases against leaders and members of mass organizations.

Clemente said the cases filed against the Batasan 6, Tagaytay 5 and Southern Tagalog 72 are the handiwork of the IALAG. In 2006, rebellion charges were filed against party-list representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, Joel Virador, Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano and the late Crispin Beltran; they were collectively called the Batasan 6. The Supreme Court ordered the dismissal of the cases against the Batasan 6, in June 2007, for lack of probable cause and due process. The High Court castigated Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales for lack of impartiality, stating that there was “obvious involvement of political considerations…” in the filing of cases against the Batasan 6.

The Tagaytay 5 are peasant organizers Axel Pinpin, Riel Custodio and Aristides Sarmiento, and cockfighting aficionados Enrico Ybañez and Michael Masayes. They were also charged with rebellion in 2006 and were released from detention in August last year after the court deemed that the arrest and detention of the five was illegal.

Buwagin ang grupong ito,” (Abolish this group.) Clemente said. She added, “Buksan ang mga pinto ng kulungan para palayain ang iba pang detinidong pulitikal.” (Open the gates of prison and free all political prisoners.

More determined

All seven newly-released detainees expressed determination to continue their political activities.

Saladero said he will get back to work immediately. Their office, the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE), handles 700 labor cases.

Labor organizer Seminiano said, “Hindi kami natatakot. Patuloy namin ipaglalaban ang aming karapatang mag-organisa ng mga manggagawa.” (We are not afraid. We will continue to fight for our right to organize our fellow workers.)

Dionida said the Filipino people must remain vigilant. “Desperado ang rehimeng ito na supilin ang mamamayan.” (This regime is desperate in suppressing the people.)

San Jose said, “Kahit anong patakaran ni Gloria, Oplan Bantay Laya o IALAG, hindi kayang pigilin ang paglaban ng mamamayan. Lalo pa ngayon sa pagbulusok ng ekonomiya, lalong lalakas ang paglaban ng mamamayan.” (Whatever policy Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo implements, whether its Operation Freedom Watch or IALAG, the government could never stop the struggle of the people.)

Magpupursigi pa kaming lalo,” (We will persevere even more.) San Jose said.


NAKALAYA na kahapon, Pebrero 5, si Atty. Remigio Saladero Jr., chief legal counsel ng Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) at kolumnista ng Pinoy Weekly, mula sa Calapan City Provincial Jail matapos ang tatlong buwan na pagkakakulong.

Kasama niyang nakalaya ang lima pang kasama niyang inaresto at ikinulong na sina Nestor San Jose, Crispin Zapanta, Rogelio Galit, Emmanuel Dionida at Arnaldo Seminiano, pawang mga lider ng makabayang mga organisasyon sa Timog Katagalugan.

Naganap ang mga pag-aresto sa pagitan ng Oktubre 23 hanggang Noyembre 6 noong nakaraang taon.

Samantala, nakalaya rin si Leonardo Arceta, lider-manggagawa sa Laguna, na dinakip noong lamang Lunes, Enero 2.

Matatandaang bahagi sina Atty. Saladero ng tinaguriang Southern Tagalog 72 (ST 72), mga lider ng mga organisasyon ng magsasaka at manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan na simanpahan ng anila’y “gawa-gawang mga kaso” noong Oktubre ng nakaraang taon.

Kabilang sa mga kasong sinampa ang frustrated murder at multiple frustrated murder kaugnay umano ng kanilang pananambang sa kapulisan at pagpapasabog ng mga cell site sa Batangas at Mindoro.

Sa mga naunang pahayag ni Atty. Saladero, ilegal ang pagkaka-aresto sa kanila. Gayundin, depektibo ang mga kaso, maging ang paraan kung paano ito isinampa laban sa kanila.

Inilabas ng Mindoro Oriental Regional Trial Court ang release order ni Atty. Saladero at anim pang aktibista, tanghali ng Pebrero 5.

Sinang-ayunan ng nasabing korte ang pahayag ng abogado na hindi maaaring pasama-samahin ang iba’t iba pagkakasala, halimbawa ang frustrated murder at multiple frustrated murder, sa iisang kaso.

Kayan naman nagbigay-daan din ang korte sa sinampang motion to quash the information ng grupo nina Atty. Saldero.

Ayon sa Executive Vice President ng KMU na si Joselito Ustarez, titiyakin nilang “ganap na ang paglaya nina Atty. Saladero at maibabasura na ang gawa-gawang mga kaso sa kanila.” Bagama’t nakalaya na sina Atty. Saladero ay hindi pa rin binabasura ang mga kasong kriminal laban sa ST 72.

Ayon naman kay Joel Manglunsod ng Anakpawis Party-list, ang paglaya nina Atty. Saladero ay “tanda ng paunang tagumpay ng mga mamamayan laban sa terorismo ng Estado.” Gayundin, ani Maglunsod, “tagumpay ito ng mga nakikipaglaban para sa karapatang pantao.”

Kaugnay nito, maglulusad ang Anakpawis at iba pang makabayang mga organisasyon ng mas matinding kampanya laban sa Oplan Bantay Laya 2 na target umano ang mga legal na aktibista gaya nila.

Nananawagan din ang grupo sa paglansag sa Inter-agency Legal Action Group na siya umanong nasa likod ng “paggamit ng batas upang supilin ang nagtatanggol ng karapatan ng mamamayan at lumalaban sa mapanupil na gobyerno.”

Ayon kay Atty. Saladero, masaya siya ngayong nakalaya na sila at mahaharap na muli ang mga usapin ng mga managawa laluna sa kasalukuyang panahon na talamak ang tanggalan sa mga pagawaan.

source: by Alexander Martin Remollino |

(February 05, 2009) BREAKING NEWS! Judge Tomas Leynes of the Calapan City Regional Trial Court, Branch 40 issued this afternoon a release order for labor lawyer Remigio Saladero, Jr. and six other activists from Southern Tagalog who have been detained at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial jail for almost three months now while facing criminal charges.

Leynes ordered the release of the seven activists on the ground that citing multiple alleged crimes under a single case is not permissible.

Last October, 72 persons – many of them leaders of cause-oriented groups in Southern Tagalog – were slapped with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges in relation to a March 3, 2006 ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) against policemen in Calapan City.

Saladero – a lawyer at the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE), a founding member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), the chief legal counsel of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or May 1st Movement), and a columnist of the alternative newspaper Pinoy Weekly – was among seven persons who were arrested and, subsequently, detained at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail on the basis of these charges. The others are Emmanuel Dionida, executive director of Labor Education Advocacy Development Response Services (LEADERS) and a polio victim who has long been confined to a wheelchair; Rogelio Galit, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (Kamagsasaka-Ka or Farmers’ Federation in Cavite); Nestor San Jose, leader of the Southern Tagalog Transport Sector Organization (Starter); Crispin Zapanta, member of Bayan Muna (People First); and Arnaldo Seminiano, organizer of the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa (IBM or Light and Unity of Workers) and Leonardo Arceta, a KMU organizer.

Other respondents include the following:

Armando Albarillo, secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance)-Southern Tagalog and signatory to the 2008 impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Bayani Cambronero, eighth nominee and Southern Tagalog regional coordinator of Bayan Muna; Doris Cuario, secretary-general of Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)-Southern Tagalog; Helen Asdolo, secretary-general of GABRIELA-Southern Tagalog, Luz Baculo, secretary-general of Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik or Unity of Workers in Southern Tagalog) and member of KMU’s National Council;

Orly Marcellana, secretary general of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK or Confederation of Peasant Organizations in Southern Tagalog) and chairman of Bayan-Southern Tagalog; Romeo Legaspi, chairman of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik or Unity of Workers in Southern Tagalog); Rolando Mingo, president of Starter and vice president of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston); Dina Captillo, spokesperson of Karapatan-Batangas;

Renato Alvarez, Kamagsasaka-Ka chairman; Romeo Aguilar, organizer of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Rizal; and Pedro Santos, Jr., secretary-general of Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog and regional coordinator of Kabataan Party.

By Maricar Cinco, Southern Luzon Bureau,

(February 02, 2009) BREAKING NEWS! CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna – A labor organizer suspected of being one of the 72 Southern Tagalog militants facing charges in connection with an alleged ambush by communist rebels in March 2006 was arrested early Sunday, an official of a militant labor group said on Monday.

Leonardo Arceta, 51, was arrested at around 2 a.m. Sunday inside a friend's house in Westdrive Subdivision, Barangay (village) Labas, Sta. Rosa City, by around 10 policemen, said Hermie Marasigan, executive vice-president of the Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Olalia-KMU).

Arceta was arrested along with Jessa Brillon, house owner, and her 5-year-old daughter, but Brillon and the child were released two hours later while Arceta remained in detention at Camp Vicente Lim, added Marasigan.

Superintendent Josemarte Paras, Calabarzon regional police public information chief, confirmed Arceta's arrest but did not give details, only saying that an investigation was ongoing.

Arceta's brother Rudy, 49, who immediately went to the camp to verify the arrest, said it was an illegal arrest since the name on the arrest warrant and list of the so-called Southern Tagalog 72 said "Rey Arceta."

"That's not him," he said, insisting that his brother was Leonardo and that the arrest warrant was "misguided."

"We just want to see and talk to him for us to have peace of mind. We want to know where they will take him," Rudy said.

In a statement, Marasigan said Arceta was a legitimate organizer of Olalia-KMU.

Others in the list of ST 72 included Remigio Saladero Jr., chief legal counsel of the KMU, who has been detained since October 23 last year.

The 72 are facing charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder in connection with the ambush.

(February 02, 2009) BREAKING NEWS! Inaresto kaninang madaling araw si Leonardo B. Arceta, lider-manggagawa ng Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture-Kilusang Mayo Uno (OLALIA-KMU) na nakabase sa Laguna.

Ayon sa ulat ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK), inaresto ng mga pulis si Arceta bandang alas-dos ng madaling araw sa Westdrive Subdivision, Barangay Labas, Santa Rosa City, Laguna. Sinama din ng mga pulis si Jessa Brillon at ang kanyang 5 gulang na anak. Dinala sila sa Sta. Rosa City Police Station.

Pagkatapos umanong palayain ang tatlo ay dinala naman si Arceta sa Camp Vicente Lim sa Calamba.

Sa kasalukuyan ay hindi pa malinaw kung bakit inaresto si Arceta.

Ayon kay Hermie Marasigan, executive director ng Olalia-KMU, “lehitimong kasapi” si Arceta ng nasabing grupo. Inuugnay ng grupo ang pangyayari sa maigting na kampanya ng mga manggagawa laban sa malawakang tanggalan na nagaganap sa Timog Katagalugan.

Sa mga ulat, lumalabas na ang rehiyong ito ang may pinakamalaking datos ng tanggalan ng trabaho. Sa taya ng PAMANTIK, maaaring umabot ng 40,000 ang bilang ng mga manggagawang matatangal sa trabaho sa loob ng 6 na buwan.

Kabilang sa mga nagtanggal ng mga manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan ay ang EMI-Yasaki sa Imus, Cavite, Integrated Microelectronics Incorporated at Amkor Technology Incorporated sa Laguna Technopark sa Biñan, Laguna.

Sa kasalukuyan ay hindi pinapayagan ng mga pulis na makausap si Arceta ng kanyang mga kasamahan sa organisasyon.

Kaugnay ng pangyayari, magsasagawa ng kilos-protesta ang OLALIA-KMU at iba pang organisasyon ng mga manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan upang kundenahin ang pag-aresto kay Arceta at sa malawakang tanggalan sa rehiyon.

Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr. |

SINASABI ng batas na bago sampahan ng kaso sa husgado ang isang tao, kailangang dumaan muna siya sa tinatawag na preliminary investigation. Napakahalaga ng prosesong ito. Ito ang yugto kung kailan gumagawa ng imbestigasyon ang prosecutor (taga-usig) kung ang isang reklamo ay makatotohanan ba at dapat bang isampa sa husgado.

Ginagawa ng prosecutor ang imbestigasyong ito sa pamamagitan ng masusing pag-aaral sa ebidensiya ng bawa’t panig. Una muna ay tinitingnan niya ang salaysay ng nagrereklamo. Pangalawa ay pinapadalhan niya ng kopya ng demanda ang inirereklamo at binibigyan ang huli ng pagkakataong magbigay ng kanyang kontra-salaysay. Pagkatapos ay pag-aaralan niya ang salaysay ng nagrereklamo at kontra-salaysay ng inirereklamo at kung tingin niya ay may posibilidad na totoo ang reklamo, saka pa lamang siya gagawa ng information o pormal na habla para sa husgado. Pagdating sa husgado, muling pag-aaralan ng hukom ang papeles ng kaso at kung tingin niya ay tama ang prosecutor, saka pa lamang siya maglalabas ng warrant of arrest.

Tulad ng nasabi ko na, napakahalaga ng preliminary investigation. Sa pamamagitan nito ay nasasala ang mga kasong dapat isampa sa husgado at naiiwasan ang pagsampa ng mga kasong walang kabuluhan o walang kaebi-ebidensiya.

May mga pagkakataon na hindi na kailangang dumaan sa preliminary investigation ang isang kaso. Tulad halimbawa, kung nahuli ka ng mga awtoridad sa akto ng pagsagawa ng isang krimen. Dito, puwede nang magsampa ng pormal na habla ang prosecutor na hindi dadaan sa preliminary investigation. O di kaya, kung minor offenses lamang ang habla o iyong mga krimeng hindi lalampas sa apat na taon at dalawang buwan lamang ng pagkakulong ang parusa. Hindi na rin kailangan ang preliminary investigation sa pagkakataong ito.

Subalit sa iba pang uri ng mga kaso, tulad halimbawa ng murder, robbery, kidnapping, o mga kaso sa droga, basta’t hindi sa akto nahuli ang nasasakdal, kailangan ang preliminary investigation. At hindi basta lamang preliminary investigation. Kailangang ang preliminary investigation na ito ay mahigpit na sumusunod sa tamang proseso at hindi “moro-moro” lamang.

Sa kasong “Vicente P. Ladlad, vs. Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco,” (G.R. No. 172070-72) na denisisyunan ng Korte Suprema noong Hunyo 1, 2007, hindi sinunod ng prosecutor ang tamang proseso sa pagsagawa ng preliminary investigation. Hindi pinanumpaan ng mga pulis na testigo ang kanilang salaysay sa harap ng prosecutor. Mayroong isang testigo na nanumpa sa harap ng prosecutor ngunit siya ay nakamaskara. Pagkatapos niya manumpa, binigay ng prosecutor ang kanyang salaysay sa mga kasapi ng mass media na nandoon, hindi sa mga akusado.

Nagreklamo ang mga akusado sa Department of Justice kung bakit ganoon ang proseso ngunit hindi sila pinakinggan. Napilitan silang dalhin sa Korte Suprema ang kaso.

Pinanigan ng Korte Suprema ang mga akusado. Sinabi ng Korte Suprema na mali ang proseso ng preliminary investigation na isinagawa ng prosecutor at kung baga, para itong palabas o “moro-moro” lamang. Ito ay lumalabag sa karapatan sa “due process” ng mga akusado. Napakahalaga ng prosesong ito, paliwanag ng Korte Suprema, dahil dito pa lamang malalaman na kung dapat isampa sa kortre ang isang kaso o hindi. Dahil sa pagbabalewala nito ng prosecutor, depektibo ang kasong isinampa nito sa korte at dapat lamang itong ibasura. Kaya, pinawalang bisa ng Korte Suprema ang kasong isinampa laban sa mga akusado.

Bakit ito naman ang napili kong pag-usapan sa ating kolum ngayon, mga mambabasa? Sapagkat tulad ng kaso nina Vicente Ladlad ay hindi rin dumaan sa tamang preliminary investigation ang aming kaso. At tulad sa kaso ni Vicente Ladlad, at iba pang kaso kung saan napahiya ang rehimeng Arroyo ay umaasa rin kaming ibabasura ng husgado ang aming kaso.

by Arthur L. Allad-iw |

BAGUIO CITY – Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have filed a resolution to investigate the arrest and continuing detention of human rights and labor lawyer Remigio Saladero Jr.

And in another related development, the Asian Network of Indigenous Lawyers (ANIL) is bringing the case to the UN Secretary-General’s special representative on human rights’ defenders while urging the Philippine government to order the release of the 49-year-old lawyer who was arrested in Oriental Mindoro over what his supporters claim are trumped-up charges.

Human Rights Watch has already claimed the arrest to be ‘politically motivated.’ Elaine Pearson, its Asia Division deputy director has said the arrest ‘smacks of harassment pure and simple.” The Commission on Human Rights has also reportedly recently started its own investigation into the case.

Interviewed this week by the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project, Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo said that Philippine lawmakers have filed House Resolution No. 887 which directs the House Committee on Human Rights to conduct an inquiry into the arrest and detention of Saladero.

“It was already referred to the Committee on Human Rights but no hearing is yet set,” Ocampo added, when interviewed via phone on December 16 while attending the Congress Bicameral meeting for the 2009 budget.

Saladero Jr. was arrested on October 23 inside his office in Antipolo City by combined elements of the Antipolo police and military intelligence group 4A of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), stated Resolution No. 887 which was filed on November 27 with Representatives Teodoro Casino, Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan, and Rafael Mariano.

Saladero who is reportedly being held in Calapan City jail in Oriental Mindoro in southern Luzon, counts many trade union and human rights activists among his clients as well as those charged with being suspected members of the New People’s Army.

“The trumped-up charges against Saladero appear to be an attempt to intimidate other lawyers of the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE) for handling around 700 labor, human rights, civil and administrative cases, including controversial labor cases of Hacienda Luisita and Nestle Philippines,” claims Ocampo.

Hacienda Luisita is the 5,000-hectare hacienda in Tarlac in central Luzon owned and controlled by the family of former president Corazon Aquino. Nestle Philippines meanwhile used to be co-owned by San Miguel Corporation, the country’s largest food and beverage company led by Aquino’s first cousin, businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

Genesis of the charges

Multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges were filed against Saladero and 71 co-accused based on claims that Saladero and others were involved in an NPA ambush against military forces in 2006 in Oriental Mindoro.

Judge Tomas Leynes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 40 of Calapan issued a warrant of arrest for Saladero on October 8.

Saladero’s lawyer Noel Neri claimed they have already filed motions to quash the warrant and dismiss the case. A hearing was originally scheduled on December 11 but was reportedly postponed to allow more time to prepare the case against him and his co defendants.

According to the Free Attorney Saladero Coalition, there has not been any preliminary investigation. The coalition was formed on November 13 and composed of lawyers, trade unions and human rights groups.

According to court documents, a military agent pointed to Saladero and other activists as among those involved in the 2006 ambush in Oriental Mindoro.

ANIL maintains the Philippine government is contradicting its commitment to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) by harassing human rights defenders through “trumped-up” cases filed in court with the sole aim to “silence them from raising human rights issues”.

Composed of human rights lawyers across the region, ANIL has urged the government to “immediately release labor lawyer and newspaper columnist Saladero.”

At least twenty-five lawyers from various countries gathered here for a network conference sponsored by Tebteba Foundation, an indigenous peoples international center for policy research and education.

Babloo Loitongbam, a lawyer based in India, said the background, nature of the charges and the arrest of Saladero are all considered as an attack on human rights defenders as Saladero is working with the realization of human rights.

“We intend to bring the case (of Saladero) to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders for appropriate action,” said Loitongbam, also the executive director of Human Rights Alert, an NGO rendering legal services to the poor in India.

Worst attack against defender

In a separate interview with the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project, lawyer Jose Mencio Molintas, an appointed member of the indigenous rights experts group to the United Nations Human Rights Council, condemned the charges against Saladero.

“That is the worst form of attack against human rights defenders, filing trump up cases to silence him on his human rights work and advocacy,” said Molintas who is also national vice-president for Luzon of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

A member of the Ibaloi tribe and a veteran human rights lawyer, Molintas added that Saladero is dedicated to human rights advocacy rendering free legal services to the “poor and oppressed.”

GMA record compared with Marcos

Lawyer Cheryll Datec-Yangot meantime criticized the President for what she claimed was “poor leadership” in regard to the promotion and protection of rights in the Philippines.

“It is a manifestation of the gravity of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s disregard on basic rights,” added Daytec-Yangot, a human rights practicing lawyer in the Cordillera.

“If they can concoct a case against a lawyer and violate his human rights, they can do that to anyone just to stifle dissent on a regime whose record is unprecedented,” Daytec-Yangot said, adding: “(Ferdinand) Marcos’ human rights record pales in comparison with that of Arroyo.”

Attack against press freedom

The lawyer’s arrest has also been roundly condemned by media activists given he also works as a columnist and writes Husgahan Natin (Let Us Judge) on the Pinoy Weekly, a web-based news outfit.

“Saladero was arrested not because he was being suspected as an NPA but because he criticized the government’s inability to address the issues of the labor sector,” claimed Desiree Caluza, secretary-general of the Baguio-Benguet chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

She added that the government should stop thinking that the arrest of Saladero will stop those who would write and express the issues of the marginalized sectors.

“The will to express and write about the marginalized sectors cannot be curtailed as long as exploitation and oppression continues,” added Caluza who also writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Just doing their job

For their part, the police in Oriental Mindoro claimed that they do not have any grudge against Saladero.

“We were just executing a warrant of arrest issued by a judge in one of the courts,” explained Superintendent Ricardo Padilla, CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) police chief.

He added that the police themselves would be in violation of the law if they did not implement a court order.

But Saladero was first reported missing by his next of kin before the police admitted they had arrested him. Saladero’s wife Maricel has repeatedly denied her husband is a member of the NPA and says she fears for her husband’s health behind bars. Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project

(The author is a journalist based in Baguio City and a member of the Kankanaey tribe in the Mountain Province. He writes in a local paper and hosts a television program in a local cable station. He is also an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.)

Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr. |

Ang Unang tanong kaagad ng mga kaibigang dumadalaw sa amin dito sa kulungan ay kung maayos ang aming kalagayan. Para mapayapa ang kanilang damdamin, sinasabi naming maayos naman. Subalit nababasa namin sa kanilang mga kilos na para bang hindi sila naniniwala at nagdududa sa aming sinasabi.

Hindi namin sila masisisi. Alam naman ng lahat na sa kalagayan ng mga bilangguan dito sa ating bansa ngayon, imposible para sa isang bilanggo ang maging nasa maayos na kalagayan.

Tulad halimbawa ng aming kinapipiitan ngayon dito sa provincial jail ng Oriental Mindoro. Mahigit 360 kaming lahat na nakabilanggo rito. Sari-sari ang aming mga kaso. Mayroong murder, robbery, rape, at mayroon ding tungkol sa paggamit o pagbenta ng ipinagbabawal na gamot. Ang mahigit 360 bilanggong ito ay nahahati sa mga selda na kung tawagin ay brigade.

Ang aming selda na kung tawagin ay brigade uno, ay may laman na animnapu’t anim (66) na bilanggo. May luwang itong mga 7 x 7 metro kuwadrado kaya wala ka na halos magalawan sa kasikipan nito. Kung may umutot sa mga bilanggo, tiyak na langhap ng buong selda dahil sa kasikipan nito.

Kung problema ang kasikipan, lalong problema ang tulugan. Sa aming selda ay may labinlimang (15) double-deck na higaan na gawa sa kawayan o sa plywood. Ang tawag sa mga higaang ito sa lengguwahe ng mga bilanggo ay tarima. Bawa’t tarima ay dalawang bilanggo ang natutulog kaya’t bale apat lahat ang kasya sa isang double-deck bed. Dahil kami ay animnapu’t anim lahat, hindi sapat ang bilang ng mga higaan o tarima at ang iba sa amin ay sa malamig na sahig na lamang natutulog. Noong bago pa lamang akong dating ay sa sahig din ako natutulog at kamakailan lamang ako nabigyan ng sarili kong higaan.

Ngunit hindi basta mayroon ka nang tarima ibig sabihi'y komportable ka na sa iyong pagtulog. Masikip para sa dalawang tao ang isang tarima. Upang hindi ka maka-istorbo sa iyong kasama samantalang kayo ay natutulog, kailangang manatili ka sa isang posisyon lamang. Hindi ka maaring gumalaw nang gumalaw o bumalikwas nang bumalikwas sapagka’t tiyak na magigising ang iyong kasama. Ngunit maraming surot sa mga tarima. Marahil, ito ay sa dahilang yari ito sa plywood o di kaya’y sa kawayan. Kaya kung mahimbing na sana ang iyong pagtulog dahil sa hindi magalaw ang iyong kasama, tiyak na mabubulabog ka at magigising dahil sa kagat ng mga surot.

Kung siksikan kami sa pagtulog ay siksikan din kami sa pag-ihi, pagdumi at pagligo. Sa bawat selda o brigade ay mayroong isang maliit na kubeta lamang. Ang kubetang ito ay siya ring nagsisilbing paliguan o banyo ng mga bilanggo. Dahil sa kakulangan ng tubig ay maari lamang maligo mula alas-kuwatro ng umaga hanggang alas-nuwebe ng gabi. Dahil sa animnapu’t anim (66) kaming lahat na gumagamit sa kubetang ito, madalas kaming magkasabay-sabay sa paggamit nito. Halimbawa, dumudumi ang isa samantalang umiihi ang dalawa. O di kaya, naliligo ang dalawa samantalang umiihi naman ang isa. Mahirap makakita ng pagkakataon na masosolo mo ang kubeta dahil sa sobrang dami ng bilanggo na gumagamit nito. Kaya kung nasanay kang mag-isa at matagal sa pribado ninyong kubeta o sa banyo sa inyong bahay, kalimutan mo na ang lahat ng ito. Mababago ang lahat ng toilet manners mo pagdating sa bilangguan.

Lalong malaking pagbabago ang iyong kakailanganin sa iyong ugali pagdating sa pagkain. Kung sa labas ay nasanay kang kumain sa mga restawran, fast food chains, o di kaya ay sa katahimikan ng inyong tahanan habang nilalasap ang pagkaing luto ng iyong maybahay, sa bilangguan ay kalimutan mo na ang mga ito. Paano mo pa matitikman ang mga ito sa katiting na budget na binibigay ng pamahalaan para sa pagkain ng mga bilanggo? Dito sa Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail, halimbawa, ang budget ng pamahalaan para sa pagkain ng mga bilanggo ay P23.00 tuwing araw. Pumapatak lamang ito sa bale P7.33 tuwing kain. Paano ngayon makakabili ng masustansiya at sapat na ulam ang ganito kaliit na halaga? Eh di, kapiranggot na isdang tamban na pinaksiw ang ulam sa umaga, kapiranggot na isdang tamban (na naman) na sinigang ang ulam sa tanghali, at ginisang kalabasa ang ulam sa gabi. Paulit-ulit ito at walang pagbabago sa araw-araw. Kung kaya’t dito sa provincial jail, hindi na isdang bangus na naturingang pambansang isda. Ang naturingang pambansang isda rito ay ang tamban.

Ganito lamang mga mambabasa, ang buhay dito sa bilangguan. At ganitong buhay ngayon ang ating hinaharap dahil sa pang-aapi at panggigipit ng rehimeng Arroyo.


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