Group slams trumped-up charges vs 3 leaders

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno called for the immediate junking of trumped-up charges against three of its national leaders, condemning the Aquino government for continuing Arroyo-type harassment of labor leaders.

Three members of KMU’s National Council have been slapped with trumped up charges: Ronald Ian Evidente of Negros, Hermenegildo Marasigan of Southern Tagalog, and 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 while Marasigan 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 these. It is using the tactics of the Arroyo regime in trying to weaken the labor movement,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“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 that 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 last 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 knew of its existence only last September, after two men in plainclothes went to his residence and told his wife that he is being “invited” to the police station.

Velez knew of the warrant of arrest against him, which was dated Oct. 18, only 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 last 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 publics and to hold sustained protests against these,” Labog said.

“The Aquino government is very active and very swift in filing trumped-up charges against labor leaders and activists but 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,” he added.

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