The cost of fighting for what is right

“Stand for the truth and stand strong because one day, no matter how long it may take, it will pay off.”


MANILA – When the Philippine Children’s Medical Center Employees Association-Alliance of Health Worker (PCMCEA-AHW) was reactivated in 2003, the hospital management also started working to discredit the employees’ association.

Mariel Macabulos, acting president of the PCMCEA-AHW said the group Samahan ng Kawani ng PCMC (SK), which claimed to be another employees’ association, questioned their certification election before the Bureau of Labor Relation. They also gave out money, in effect, “buying out” the employees, with funds from a questionable source.

“When they distributed the money, they require the employees to sign in as an SK member. Those who were associated with us (PCMCEA-AHW) also received money, but less. Me, I don’t receive any.”

“We were wondering: first, where do the funds come from? Second, why give less to those who are associated with the PCMCEA-AHW?” said Macabulos in an interview with

In 2014, SK did not give out money.

“A co-worker told me recently that I should ‘just agree.’ I asked: ‘Agree on what?’” Macabulos recalled. “Just agree to SK so that they can distribute to the employees the money,” she quoted her co-worker.

It turned out that SK claimed that she was the one blocking the dole-out.


In 2010, Robert Mendoza, the elected president of the PCMCEA-AHW was dismissed from work after the Court of Appeals found him guilty of dishonesty in his personal data sheet submitted to the human resource department of the PCMC.

Mendoza, however, said that it was a fabricated case.

“It was in 2006 when I filled out a personal data sheet, which asked for one’s average in the board exams taken,” he said. “I was just playing around then,” said Mendoza, adding that he didn’t pass that form to the human resource department, because as he put his score on his midwifery licensure exam, he also put a score in the nurse licensure exam even though he hasn’t taken the exam yet.

He said that form was used as evidence against him even though it didn’t even bear a received stamped from the human resource department. “I don’t know where they got that form.

Mendoza appealed and the case is now pending at the CA.

Robert Mendoza, (man standing in right) during the People's Mass at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, a day before Pope Francis arrives. (Photo courtesy of Robert Mendoza's Facebook account.)
Robert Mendoza, (man standing in right) during the People’s Mass at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, a day before Pope Francis arrives. (Photo courtesy of Robert Mendoza’s Facebook account.)

Prior to that, other fabricated cases was filed against Mendoza, like simple misconduct but was dismissed by the Office of the Government Corporation Council (OGCC). “We were giving out fliers that were against President Arroyo then, but it was during break time. They made the hospital guard state in his affidavit that we were giving out fliers during office hours.”

Two other cases in the OGCC were still pending as of this writing against Mendoza. He said that both were also fabricated cases charged against him by the management.

The management may have thought that they have removed their biggest pain in the neck after Mendoza left. But Macabulos, who was the secretary of the association, carried on the fight.

Mendoza is now the secretary general of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW).

Macabulos did not give in to the harassment of the management and held on to their struggle for their right to organization. She is working as Clerk 3 at the PCMC for almost 20 years.

“The management assigned me to every department of the hospital. I was designated in the ward, in the out-patient department, in the nurses’ department, in the intensive care unit, everywhere.”

“There was a time that I was assigned in an isolated area where all patients’ records were given for me to encode. I was given a quota of output for a day, there was a ‘body guard’ in the room who will report to the management who among the employees will come and talk to me.”

She complied with whatever work the management assigned to her, and even doing more than her targeted quota.

Despite the restrictions, she was still able to join the 12 noon to 1 p.m. lunch break protest by health workers, and made placards for rallies.

Even employees who were caught talking to Macabulos were also punished.

“One employee was caught talking to me, the next day the management called and warned her about me, calling me an enemy and asking why she talked to me. A job order employee was also caught talking to me; he was forced to resign because he was threatened.”


The management also excluded them from the activities it was holding, such as the campaign to Save PCMC from eviction from their present location in Quezon Avenue. “They isolated us to make the SK visible rather than us.”

The management also tried to project SK among the employees by distributing goods through the group during Christmas season.

But even with the harassments against Macabulos, the employees still come to her when they encounter problems as at work.

The SK, she said, was made visible by the management but they are only known for their dole-outs. But when the issue is about the employees’ welfare, Macabulos said, they are mum about it.

The struggle continues

What made her strong despite the management’s harassments?

“It is siding with the truth. Because the truth is, even if there is SK, it would only serve for the pleasure of the management and not for the interest of the employees.”

She said their experience would tell that even if one labor case takes years to be decided, the truth will always prevail.

Mendoza also pointed out the importance of documentation and vigilance to fight against a repressive management like PCMC’s. “Our actions and the management’s inactions (on CNA negotiation) are all documented. That is why we know that we are on the right track.”

“Stand for the truth and stand strong because one day, no matter how long it may take, it will pay off,” said Macabulos.

As of now, the PCMCEA-AHW has only four officers left including Macabulos, who has been acting president since Mendoza’s dismissal. Even with the initial victory of the PCMCEA-AHW, Macabulos said, the struggle continues as they have to compel the management to sit to a dialogue for their CNA.

“That is another battle to win,” she said. (

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