MILITANTS’ DEMAND: Release of jailed labor lawyer

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Jeffrey M. Tupas/Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 15:46:00 11/01/2008

DAVAO CITY, Davao Del Sur — Militant groups in Mindanao, including the local chapter of Kilusang Mayo Uno, have called on all workers to continue pushing for the freedom of labor lawyer Remigio “Ka Meng” Saladero Jr.

Saladero was taken from his house in Antipolo City on October 23 by operatives of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) for his alleged role in various communist attacks.

Prior to his arrest, Saladero was to consult with labor unions affiliated with the KMU and present the position paper of the Pro-Labor Assistance Center on a House bill which seeks to amend the Labor Code. He also agreed to attend the First Davao-wide Industrial Summit on November 17.

Robert Lausa, spokesperson of KMU-Southern Mindanao, said the arrest warrants against Saladero “were defective.”

But authorities said aside from his participation in several alleged killings, Saladero was also among 26 New People’s Army rebels who recently burned a cell site of a telecommunications company in Lemery, Batangas.

“This blatant act of terror of the Arroyo regime shows that Malacañang and the military are hell-bent in their intention to persecute patriotic and progressive organizations at all costs and in any manner,” Lausa said.

He said Saladero was known for his being a columnist for Pinoy Weekly and the 700 labor cases he was handling.

“It has become the Arroyo government’s dirty practice to file fictitious and trumped-up charges to neutralize individuals who expose its anti-people policies and corrupt practices, most of which are leading figures in the trade union and peasant movement,” Lausa said.

“We shall hold Gloria Arroyo responsible if anything bad would happen to Atty. Saladero. It is so outrageous that he is now accused of being an NPA. How can a fulltime lawyer, with more than 700 cases and a columnist become an NPA at the same time?” Lausa asked.

He said the government should release the lawyer.

Lausa also called on workers “to rise up against the attacks of this fake, corrupt, and fascist regime.”

“Atty. Saladero has dedicated his life defending the rights and welfare of the workers and the people. It is but a fitting tribute to his sacrifice that we go out into the streets to demand his immediate freedom,” Lausa said.

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