BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Judge Manuel Luna, Jr. of the Calapan City Regional Trial Court, Branch 40 issued this afternoon a release order for labor lawyer Remigio Saladero, Jr. and six other activists from Southern Tagalog who have been detained at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial jail for almost three months now while facing criminal charges.
Luna ordered the release of the seven activists on the ground that citing multiple alleged crimes under a single case is not permissible.
Last October, 72 persons – many of them leaders of cause-oriented groups in Southern Tagalog – were slapped with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges in relation to a March 3, 2006 ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) against policemen in Calapan City.
Saladero – a lawyer at the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE), a founding member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), the chief legal counsel of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or May 1st Movement), and a columnist of the alternative newspaper Pinoy Weekly – was among seven persons who were arrested and, subsequently, detained at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail on the basis of these charges. The others are Emmanuel Dionida, executive director of Labor Education Advocacy Development Response Services (LEADERS) and a polio victim who has long been confined to a wheelchair; Rogelio Galit, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (Kamagsasaka-Ka or Farmers’ Federation in Cavite); Nestor San Jose, leader of the Southern Tagalog Transport Sector Organization (Starter); Crispin Zapanta, member of Bayan Muna (People First); Arnaldo Seminiano, organizer of the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa (IBM or Light and Unity of Workers); and Leonardo Arceta, a KMU organizer.
Other respondents include the following:
Armando Albarillo, secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance)-Southern Tagalog and signatory to the 2008 impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Bayani Cambronero, eighth nominee and Southern Tagalog regional coordinator of Bayan Muna; Doris Cuario, secretary-general of Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)-Southern Tagalog; Helen Asdolo, secretary-general of GABRIELA-Southern Tagalog, Luz Baculo, secretary-general of Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik or Unity of Workers in Southern Tagalog) and member of KMU’s National Council;
Orly Marcellana, secretary general of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK or Confederation of Peasant Organizations in Southern Tagalog) and chairman of Bayan-Southern Tagalog; Romeo Legaspi, chairman of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik or Unity of Workers in Southern Tagalog); Rolando Mingo, president of Starter and vice president of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston); Dina Captillo, spokesperson of Karapatan-Batangas;
Renato Alvarez, Kamagsasaka-Ka chairman; Romeo Aguilar, organizer of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Rizal; and Pedro Santos, Jr., secretary-general of Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog and regional coordinator of Kabataan Party. (Bulatlat.com)