Labor group slams illegal arrest of govt employees’ organizers

THREE days before the International Human Rights Day, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the illegal arrest of two organizers of government employees, saying Arroyo-type human-rights violations persist under the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, staff of government employees’ group Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) were abducted last Dec. 3.

They were slapped with trumped-up charges in relation to 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.

A fact-finding mission led by Courage revealed that Vegas and Camposano were accosted by arresting officers who were without proper identification, were not informed of the basis for their arrest, and were denied legal counsel when they were interrogated.

After they were illegally arrested in Metro Manila, they were handcuffed and blindfolded all the way to the Bagong Diwa Detention Center and then to Daet, Camarines Norte where they are imprisoned at present.

“Illegally arresting activists and slapping them with trumped-up charges in relation to activities carried out by the NPA are trademark tactics of the Arroyo regime. We condemn the Aquino government for continuing to carry out such forms of human-rights violations,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“While the Filipino people were bracing for the entry of typhoon ‘Pablo’ into the country, the military and the Aquino government were busy violating activists’ human rights. The military and the Aquino government like to prattle about ‘human rights’ but don’t mind carrying out violations one week before International Human Rights Day,” he said.

The labor center called for the immediate and unconditional release of Vegas and Camposano.

“We know both Vegas and Camposano from working with Courage. They are organizers of government employees and activists, not NPA members, who were active in preparations for this year’s Labor Day protests,” Labog said.

“They should be freed immediately and unconditionally. We are calling for justice for our comrades,” he added.

“Instead of responding to government employees’ calls for higher salaries and benefits and job security, the Aquino government is continuing Arroyo-type violations of human rights to suppress advocates of employees’ rights,” he said.

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