TUCP’s Torres faction rejects Nagkaisa’s new officers

Published by rudy Date posted on April 4, 2016

THE LEADERSHIP DISPUTE hounding the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) seems far from over, as the faction of Ruben D. Torres rejected the elections held recently by the country’s largest labor organization.

Alan A. Tanjusay, spokesperson of the Nagkaisa faction, said 18 of the organization’s 27 affiliates have elected Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza — son of deceased leader Democrito T. Mendoza — to be the newest TUCP president.

During the Saturday convention, the member groups also elected Arnel Z. Dolendo as general secretary and Esperanza S. Ocampo as treasurer. Each will serve a five-year term.

This set of officers had served in an acting capacity following the Oct. 29 death of former Senator Ernesto F. Herrera, who headed the rival faction and was recognized by the Supreme Court (SC) in February 2015 as the organization’s lawful president in a holdover capacity.

But Mr. Torres, elected president in November 2015 by the Herrera faction, continued to dispute the recent elections.

“The convention was by the renegade group of Mendoza. It was in violation of the Supreme Court decision,” Mr. Torres said in a text message.

He said the “legitimate TUCP convention” to elect its officers will be held on Labor Day, May 1.

In a phone interview, Mr. Tanjusay denied violating the SC ruling. Since Mr. Herrera was recognized in a holdover capacity, he said the ruling provided for the organization to choose first a temporary officer to organize a new convention to elect a new set of officers.

“Last Saturday, we finally held the convention. With that, Congress Mendoza emerged as the winner,” he said. “We do not see any violation of the Supreme Court order.”

Mr. Tanjusay also said Mr. Torres cannot claim to be the legitimate TUCP leader because of a recent ruling by a Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) agency.

He claimed the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) effectively ruled that Mr. Torres belonged to an organization not affiliated with the umbrella group.

The 12-page order, on Thursday, granted the Herrera faction the right to use the TUCP building, but excluded the BPO Workers Association of the Philippines (BWAP) as among the TUCP’s 27 affilitate organizations. Mr. Torres is concurrently president of BWAP.

Besides BWAP, the BLR also deemed 53 other federations not to be TUCP members. It said at the time of the SC decision’s finality come June 2015, only the 27 recognized organizations have complied with the TUCP constitution and by-laws.

“The records do not show that a Committee on Membership has processed their applications for membership subject to the procedures and other requirements specified by the General Council, and recommended action to the Executive Board through the President,” the DoLE-BLR order read.

The order concerned the administrative matter of allowing the Herrera group access to the TUCP premises in compliance with the Supreme Court’s February 2015 decision.

Mr. Tanjusay maintained: “Mr. Ruben Torres and his organization are not bonafide members of TUCP.”

Mr. Torres, on the other hand, said they will appeal the order insofar as the members of TUCP is concerned.

“The decision is again violative of the Court of Appeals decision as affirmed by the Supreme Court,” he said.

The rift stemmed from the elder Mendoza’s submission of a resignation letter to the TUCP Executive Board effective Nov. 1, 2011. He revoked the resignation shortly after Mr. Herrera, previously the secretary-general, assumed his position purportedly based on the organization’s by-laws.

The BLR ruled in favor of Mr. Mendoza in an August 2012 decision, upheld in a May 2013 resolution. The decision ordered the TUCP factions to revert to the situation prior to Mr. Mendoza’s resignation and conduct a special convention to elect the union’s leaders.

But the intra-union dispute was brought to the Court of Appeals, which ruled in October 2013, that Mr. Herrera was TUCP’s rightful president. The appellate court also voided all acts performed by Mr. Mendoza as its erstwhile president, saying those he performed after his resignation had no legal and binding effect. The SC later upheld the appellate court’s decision.

Following Mr. Herrera’s death on Oct. 29, both factions elected their own acting officers to serve until the conduct of their respective conventions. The elder Mendoza later died Jan. 12.

Besides electing its officers, the Nagkaisa faction’s convention also led to the endorsement of several senatorial candidates — former Akbayan party-list representative Walden F. Bello, former Justice secretary Leila M. de Lima, labor lawyer Allan S. Montaño, migrant workers advocate Maria Susana V. Ople, Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, and former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis N. Tolentino.

Mr. Tanjusay said they will endorse their presidential and vice-presidential candidates also on May 1.

The rival Torres faction had lent its support to administration candidate Manuel A. Roxas II as early as November. –Vince Alvic A. F. Nonato, Reporter, Businessworld

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