By Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
July 31, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling for an in-depth cleansing of the entire Philippine National Police (PNP) organization from hoodlums in uniform that could have infiltrated the organization as evidenced by police involvement in assassinations, killings, kidnapping-for-ransom of civilians and violent breakup of workers’ lawful picket across the country.
TUCP President Raymond Mendoza expressed grave concern over the failed police assassination Monday morning on labor leader and TUCP Vice President and barangay councilor Jessielou Cadungog Monday morning in Tejero, Cebu City.
The gunman who was killed in trying to assassinate Cadungog was identified as PO2 Eugene Alcain Calumba. The accomplice who was taken in custody was PO2 Michael Banua.
Mendoza also condemned the police brutally in breaking up workers of NurtiAsia who were holding a lawful picket outside the factory in Meycauayan, Bulacan Monday for illegal contractualization, substandard payment of wages, non-payment of mandatory social protection insurance committed by the management.
“Who will protect us now against lawlessness and breakdown of the rule of law now that the police themselves who are supposed to protect the people are the ones who are killing and hurting us? Who will protect us now that the police themselves are kidnapping us? Where do the weak and powerless go and seek for protection? Mendoza said.
“The recent spate of police involvement in criminal activities directed at civilians and ordinary citizens merits an honest-to-goodness cleansing of the police ranks nationwide to separate the bad ones from the good ones so that the people’s trust in our PNP is restored,” Mendoza said.
Cadungog is a long-time labor leader in Cebu who helped organized the port workers union against the abusive labor slavery and played a key role in port workers establishment of the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR), a company providing arrastre and stevedoring services in the Cebu International Port.
The workers’ enterprise is owned by workers affiliated with the TUCP’s Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
Rather than initiating an investigation into the incident, Mendoza lamented by saying the said police assassin’s ranking superiors are passing it off outright as a legitimate police operation and are covering up the incident by turning the tables against Cadungog by claiming it was the victims who were trying to kill the motorcycle-riding police assassins.
According to Mendoza, the policemen’s botched attempt on Cadungog sent a chilling effect on the labor movement with the PNP acting as the judge, the jury and the executioner.
The incident will now surely hamper trade unions’ efforts to organize workers for better wages and benefits, good working conditions and affect labor groups’ efforts to safeguard workers from abusive employers and business owners, Mendoza said. TUCP called for an independent investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into the failed Cadungog ambush.
Mendoza also cited the case of previous police assault on union leader Patricio Tago Jr, 33 years old and vice president of De Luxe Bags Philippines Inc. Employees Union while organizing workers in Tarlac City.
On September 25, 2016, Tarlac City policemen also abducted Tago at gunpoint and imprisoned him on trumped up illegal drug charges to dissuade 3,000 other co-workers to vote against forming a union.