Labor group slams arrest warrant vs NCR chair

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the arrest warrant issued against Roy Velez, its regional chairperson for Metro Manila, saying the Aquino government continues to carry out human-rights violations that are trademarks of its predecessor.

Velez is one of 32 people slapped with multiple murder stemming from an ambush against the Armed Forces of the Philippines carried out by rebel group New People’s Army last April 29 in Labo, Camarines Norte.

“Clearly, the Aquino government has adopted one of the forms of human-rights violations implemented by the hated Arroyo regime. It is harassing activists by filing trumped-up charges on the basis of the NPA’s activities,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Velez is a labor leader, not an NPA fighter. We condemn this harassment against one of our leaders. We are calling for the immediate junking of this fabricated case and the release of those already imprisoned because of this case,” he added.

Two of those charged, Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, were abducted by the police last Dec. 3 and have been imprisoned in Labo, Camarines Norte.

Government employees’ group Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) has claimed that Vegas and Camposano are its organizers and cannot be anywhere near Camarines Norte last April.

“Contrary to its claims, the Aquino government is an enemy, not a friend, of trade-union and human rights. Instead of heeding workers’ various demands, it is systematically violating the rights of labor leaders and activists,” Labog said.

KMU said that Velez is the third member of its National Council who has been slapped with trumped-up charges.

An arrest warrant dated Aug. 02 was also released against Hermenegildo “Ka Hermie” Marasigan, KMU’s regional chairperson for Southern Tagalog, over an alleged scuffle in a protest against the military’s establishment of a camp in Barangay Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna.

Earlier, a warrant of arrest dated Jan. 20 was issued against Ronald Ian Evidente, Negros representative to the KMU National Council, who was charged with robbery in connection with a raid carried out by the NPA last year in a fishing farm in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

“The Aquino government is deeply mistaken if it thinks that workers will be scared of harassment. It is only making workers angrier at its violation of trade-union and human rights,” said Labog.

“We will not take these attacks sitting down. We will intensify protests in the coming weeks and months against harassments and other forms of human-rights violations,” he added.

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