MANILA, Philippines – The Municipal Trial Court in Rosario, Cavite has ordered the arrest of 33 militant leaders for charges of grave coercion, including direct assault upon agents or persons in authority, according to Merly Grafe, chairperson of the Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW).
Thirty-one of the accused were officers and members of the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Chong Won and the Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Phils. Jeon Inc. (KMPJI), while two were officers of the SCW.
She said the charges stemmed from the complaints filed on Oct. 12, 2006 by Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) police force and Chong Wong Fashion Inc.
Grafe said the arrest warrant was issued on March 17 and the court recommended a bail of P12,000 for each accused, but it was reduced later to P6,000. She said on Sept. 25, 2006, the militant group mostly women workers went on strike to express their grievances after their companies refused to negotiate for a collective bargaining agreement, adding that the strike went on for more than eight hours until they were violently dispersed.
Grafe said criminal charges were filed by workers and PEZA police force, however, she said the court was able to resolve the counter-charge of PEZA police, but not the workers-complaints.
Grafe said the accused workers had already exhausted all possible legal means under the rule of law to seek justice and redress for their grievances. Grafe identified the accused as Resurreccion Ravelo, Florencia Arevalo, Alicia Tamio, Edna Estaloza, Marlene Gonzales, Manuel Garcia, Danilo Arandia and Femin Geronimo.
Also included in the charge were Ramil Salinas, Adelaida Bago, Ma. Victoria Buergo, Joel Ysulan, Joseph Hernandez, Jimmy Bebayo, Reynaldo Flitchetro, Monina Eugenio, Merly Grafe, Jimmy Eder, Normelita Galon, Alona Octavo, Gemma Garabato, Ricardo Cahanap, Cynthia Red, Cecille Sabela, Rosebie Remorin, Coleen Muyot, Elsa Bobis, Analyn Diaz, Jocely Cubillo, Aurora Afable, Bessie Hernandez, Sellwyn Simpan, and Rolando Timuat.–Ed Amoroso, Philippine Star