Employees Join Call for GMA’s Ouster
While campaigning for
the ouster of their president Winston Garcia, employees of the Government
Service Insurance System take a step higher by calling for the ouster of
the one who appointed him – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
Beaming with pride after the Court of
Appeals (CA) decided June 16 that their four-day protest action in October
2004 calling for the ouster of their president and chief executive officer
(CEO) Winston Garcia was legitimate, employees of the Government Service
Insurance System (GSIS) have taken a step higher by calling for the ouster
of the person who appointed him – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Lawyer Albert Velasco, president of
the Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa GSIS (KMG – Federation of GSIS
Employees) said the decision to join the campaign to oust Macapagal-Arroyo
was reached after Rep. Clavel Martinez divulged that she has in her
possession a tape that would prove that election fraud also occurred in
Cebu City, central Philippines. Martinez, herself an administration
congresswoman, said that based on the tape, the cheating involved Garcia
who belongs to an influential political family in Cebu.
Martinez gave this information in the
on-going congressional inquiry on the alleged wire-tapped conversation
between the President and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner
Virgilio Garcillano during the election canvassing in June 2004.
“Kaya kami nandito dahil sumasama
kami sa panawagan ng sambayanan na patalsikin si GMA. Lumalabas ay peke
syang presidente at dapat syang patalsikin sa pwesto” (We’re here to
support the people’s call for the ouster of GMA. She’s a fake president
and she should go), said Velasco who wore a red shirt with the words
“Serve the People” and a buri hat with the sticker “Gloria Resign!”
which was distributed during the June 24 unity march.
As a lawyer, the union president said
it is illegal for the President to communicate with anybody from an
independent institution that supervises the elections. With Macapagal-Arroyo
as incumbent president, she had the power to cheat during the last
Election results showed that Macapagal-Arroyo
won handily in Cebu with a at least one million over closest rival, the
late Fernando Poe Jr. Malacañang officials claimed it was her votes in
Cebu that turned the election results in her favor. But the election
turnout in Cebu, Mindanao and other provinces had been in contest.
Cebu received priority in budget
allocations with the President herself planning to have another Malacañang
palace in Cebu. Despite public clamor, she has refused to fire Garcia as
GSIS president and CEO.
Garcia tangled in a corruption
controversy middle of last year that forced employees of the GSIS to call
for his ouster.
Meanwhile, Velasco said operations
continue at the GSIS despite the fact that some 361 employees and union
officials and representatives have been charged with grievous conduct for
holding protests actions in front of the GSIS building on Oct. 4-7 last
But the bright spot here, Velasco
said, is that the CA has ruled that the protests were legitimate thus
making the charges filed against the 361 employees null and void. “The
GSIS is perpetually enjoined from issuing formal charges for the protest
action that we did,” Velasco explained.
Velasco, however, has not gone back to
work as he was dropped from the rolls by Garcia in late 2003 for leading
the protest actions against the GSIS president. The CA had issued a
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for his dismissal but Garcia seemed to
have refused honoring the court decision.
“I’m waiting for the CA to rule on the
legality of my dismissal but for me, it is clear that it was illegal,” he
For now, he and his colleagues are
busy campaigning for Macapagal-Arroyo’s ouster because this would also
mean the fall of Garcia from GSIS. Bulatlat
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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