Saturday, March 8, 2008

[WAC Archives] Factsheet KMPJI no. 04 2003

Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Phils Jeon
(Union of the Workers in Phils Jeon)

KMPJI Factsheet

Updated as of November 14, 2006 to February 2008

On November 9, 2006, the union attended the first hearing of the petition for cancellation of the union registration filed by the management and non-members of the union KMPJI-Independent. The petition had been filed on October 19, 2006 at the Regional Office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). In that hearing the union manifested that the petitioners were not union members so they don’t have the right to ask for the cancellation of the registration and they have also failed to get the 30 percent of all total union members’s signature in the petition.

On November 13, 2006 the union filed its formal opposition to the petition for cancellation with motion to expunge petition from records. This move was based on the fact that majority of the signatories of the petition were non-members and the signature had been obtained through fraud.

It turns out that the DOLE Region IV, through the hearing officer, Atty. Raymundo Agravante have called for a series of hearings regarding this petition without notifying the union. The series of hearings were scheduled on: November 23, 2006; December 13, 2006; January 5, 2007; January 17, 2007; and January 31, 2007 without the knowledge and presence of the union.

On November 15, 2006 a hearing had been conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in their office at Quezon City regarding the complaints of the two union on strike – Chong Won and Phils Jeon regarding violent dispersals of thei picketlines which resulted to injuries and unintentional abortion to a Phils Jeon woman striker. After that they proceeded to Senate and had a dialogue with Senator Jinggoy Estrada, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor.

On November 17, 2006 the management of Phils Jeon announced through a letter that the workers dismissed from the job as of Oct. 6, 2006 because of the strike should get all the money claims from them.

On November 20, 2006 a second mobilization-rally was held in front of the PEZA National Office in Pasay City wherein they denounced the violent dispersals of their picketline.

On November 27, 2006 the two unions had a delegation again at the CHR to get the counter-reply/affidavit of Atty. Mary Jane Arada, the IRD Chief of PEZA National who was involved in the violent dispersals and had been pinpointed as the one who ordered the PEZA police and Jantro security guards to disperse the picketlines of the workers in several and succeeding instances.

On December 8, 2006 the management announced they will give the striker’s 13th month pay provided that they will sign a waiver/quitclaim.

On January 5, 2007 both unions received a sub-poena/notice to appear before the court on the case of direct assault filed by the PEZA policemen and Jantro security guards.
On January 10, 2007 a hearing occurred at Fiscal Rojo’s sala in Cavite City.

On February 14, 2007, the unions at Chong Won and Phils Jeon received the order from the DOLE regional director cancelling their union’s registration. The decision is dated February 5, 2007 The union appealed the said decision.

On February 21, 2007 Engineer Cecilia Velena sent a notice to vacate to the union saying that since the registration of the union had been revoked the continued stay of the strikers in the premises and vicinity of Phils Jeon Inc has become unlawful.

On February 22, 2007 the union replied to the notice to vacate of Engineer Velena by saying that this order is not yet final and executory and that they still have the right to appeal the said decision.

On March 1, 2007 the union received a copy of the resolution of the Supreme Court , Second Division. It stated that “ Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated 31 January 2007:

G.R. No. 172392 (Phils Jeon Garments, Inc. vs. Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Phils Jeon Garments, Inc. (KMPJI-Ind.) The returned and unserved copies of the Resolution dated 10 July 2006 addressed to L. C. Ibarreta Law Office, counsel for petitioner, at C-6 Road, Bacao 2, Gen. Trias, 4107 Cavite and at Concepcion Commercial Bldg., Brgy. Tejeros Convention, Gen. Trias Drive, Rosario 4106 Cavite with notations “RTS-Unlocated Address” and “RTS Moved.Left No Address” are NOTED and DEEMED AS SERVED on the aforesaid counsel by substituted service pursuant to Section 8, Rule 13 o fthe 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.

On May 24, 2007 the union received an Entry of Judgment from the Second Division of the Supreme Court. The Entry of Judgment contain this:
G.R. No. 172392 (Phils Jeon Garments, Inc. vs. Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Phils Jeon Garments, Inc. (KMPJI-Ind.) xx
Acting on the petition for review on certiorari of the resolution dated Feb. 22, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. S.P. No. 93007, the Court Resolves to DENY the petition for failure to sufficiently show that the appellate court committed any reversible error in the challenged decision as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction in this case.”

And that the same has, on November 20, 2006 become final and executory and is hereby recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments.

On June 20, 2007, the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) reversed the earlier decision of the Region IV Office cancelling the union’s registration and in effect the order reinstated the union in the roster of legitimate labor organization. The order has become final and executory as indicated in an entry of judgment.

On the basis of this decision, in July 2007, the union sent a new letter of intent (LOI) to start the collective bargaining negotitiations but the management continue to refused to negotiate stating a lame excuse that they have not received their copy of the said decision inspite of the fact that the union attached a photocopy of the decision in their LOI. On the same month, the strikers filed a case of non-payment of 13th month pay against the Phils Jeon management at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

On August 6, 2007, two women striker guarding their picketline were taken/abducted against their will by unidentified men wearing ski masks/bonnet-mask. According to the two women, at around past 12:00 midnight, around ten unidentified men wearing mask/bonnet to cover their faces and hide their identity suddenly entered the makeshift tents of the Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Phils. Jeon Ind (KMPJ-Ind.). Unfortunately, at that time, only two women strikers were left to guard the picketline – only Aurora Afable and Normelita Galon while their other four companions went home at around 8:00 in the evening.

Afable was already sleeping when she was awakened by noises coming from outside of their tents. Suddenly she was shocked to see the masked men enter their tents and she shouted to awaken her other companion, Galon. Galon was already sleeping deeply when she heard Afable shout. When Afable shouted, one masked-man approached her and put his hand around her face covering her nose but she managed to move her face so the man’s hand slid to her mouth. She recalled that the man’s hand seemed applied with something spicy/racy like pepper. Then the man tied her feet and arms with a packaging tape, blind-folded her and plaster her mouth with a packaging tape also. A mosquito net was also rolled around her feet thus, made her unable to move.

On the other hand, as the other masked-man approached Galon, he also hog-tied her feet and hand with a packaging tape and tied her face with a towel that made it hard for her to breath. Then, she heard one of the men ordered “let’s behead them!”. Then the man pulled her towards her companion and they have noticed, that the men were busy dismantling their picketline and loaded it to their vehicle.

They have also heard the leader of the masked-men’s voice and they have heard them call him “Sarge”. (“Sarge” is short for sergeant a police rank). The leader commanded his men to “Get everything… nothing should be left so that they could not build their makeshift tents again.” And when the unidentified men were through in destroying their picketline, they loaded everything including the strikers’ personal belongings on the truck. Then, they carry the two women and put them in the front seat on the vehicle. The two strikers heard the voice of the masked men’s leader saying “double time, double time!”

After a few minutes when the car was already running, the victims also heard that somebody was shouting “left turn, left turn!” and it seems that he was giving directions to the driver of the truck as to where they’re going or their exact destination A moment later, the car stopped and the two women were carried out of the car and were placed on the ground a few meters away from the car’s location. The two had noticed that the men were unloading their personal belongings as well as their materials in the picket line. As the men finished unloading, the two were returned to the truck but this time, they were placed at the back portion of the truck. Afable had felt that some men had pushed her downward that made her unable to breath easily so she told the men that she can’t breath anymore but the men replied “its because we had passed by the gate”. At the same time, Galon become aware that they will be passing by the gate since she heard a man’s voiced commanded to the other men near her to cover them (Afable and Galon) so that they can’t be seen by the guards.

Then they heard a man’s voice speak, “don’t you worry, we will drop you in a place where you can be seen quickly”. The truck suddenly stopped again and during that time, the men took Galon out of the truck and there, she pleaded to her abductors: “please, don’t throw us to the river”and then the men quickly put her on the ground. When it was Afable’s turn to be taken out of the truck they heard somebody shouted, “wait, there are two cars approaching!” and when the vehicles had already passed by, the men held Afable again but they heard somebody shouted again, “faster, faster! A vehicle is coming! Right at that moment, Afable had been thrown away by the men and she fell on a wet and muddy ground.

When the two heard that the men’s vehicle had already left the area, they struggled to free themselves from the packaging tape, mosquito net and towel that had been used by their attackers to tietheir hands and feet and to fasten their mouth, and blind fold them. As they successfully removed their blind fold, they had known that they were in some place in Bacao, General Trias, Cavite, near the Petron Gasoline station. Then, they have decided to go to house of their friend to seek help from them and let them know about what happened.

It is around 1:00 AM when the two arrived at their friends house and there, they were able to contact their co–strikers and other union members through the help of their friends whom also accompanied them to the Rosario police station to blottter the incident. Around 2:00 AM, they had arrived at Rosario where one of the union members was already waiting for them.

So, they proceeded to the Rosario Police Station and reported the incident and had the report recorded in the police blotter. The police had asked the two victims and their companion that they should report the incident and place it in the police blotter first at the PEZA Police Station since it had happened in the area of PEZA . They told him that they will also make a blotter at the PEZA police but they have to wait until morning because the PEZA policemen and guards do not allow entry at PEZA at night time until morning.

At 5:00 in the morning on the same date, the two victims with their companions went to the PEZA Police station inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) to blotter the incident. When they arrived at the station, they met a policeman who was not wearing his uniform and then they told him about what had happened. The policeman told them to wait for the officer-in-charge since he was doing his morning exercise.

At 6:00 in the morning, the officer named P/Sgt. Alex Borja had arrived and entertained the workers but as the two victims narrated the whole incident, the PEZA Police asked the name of one of the worker who accompany them to the station and he insisted that she is Merly Grafe, that’s why one of the victims, Afable tried to divert the attention to another topic and asked the police why they had pulled-out the Jantro Security guards keeping watch of them ever since they built their makeshift tents. The police did not respond and just left them.

As the victims finished reporting the incident at the PEZA Police at around 8:00 AM, they have decided to retrace the way they have traveled earlier with the unidentified men who abducted them to look for their belongings that were dumped by the men inside the zone. They have reached the back portion of Mitsuwa Philippines, Inc. at Phase IV inside the CEPZ located near the Gate III of the zone where they found their belongings. When the workers had inspected their belongings, they discovered that some of their things were missing such as the two cameras (1 digital camera & 1 instamatic), 1 cellular phone, cash amounting to P1,800.00, long pants, two bedsheets, pillows, and a mat.

When they saw their belongings, Afable and Galon returned to the PEZA Police Station to ask for a gatepass so that they can bring their things out of the zone. Upon arrival there, one of the police told them to wait for P/Maj. Redada because he was attending the flag ceremony. At the time Major Redada appeared at the station, he asked the two victims regarding what happened and also asked them about their provinces. After the interrogation, Maj. Redada told them to wait for Col. Sarasua but until 10:00 AM he did not arrive. When Col. Sarasua did not come at 10:00 AM, Major Redada approaced them and informed them that they could already bring their things out of the zone. He then called Jerry Corpin, the OIC of Jantro Security Guard Agency and told them to let the workers pass at the gate to bring their things and belongings out of the zone. Corpin answered that he will just call the guards in the main gate over the radio so the workers could pass. So, the strikers had brought out their things at around 11:00 AM.

Few hours after, a province mate abd friend of Galon had called her and wanted to see her. So, Normelita agreed to meet her in one meeting place in Rosario and when they saw each other, her province mate told her that she went to see her at Phils. Jeon factory at around 1:00 PM to surprisingly visit her but she was the one that got surprised when she saw that there’s no more picketline. She then inquired at the two guards on duty at the company what had happened to the striker’s picket line and where’s her friend Galon? She felt afraid and nervous for her province mate when she heard the response of the guards - that the picket line had been dismantled already at dawn on the same day day and she could see Galon at Bacao. According to the description of Galon’s friend of the two guards who talked with her, the man is slightly bald headed while the woman has a long hair which fits the description of the OIC guard Pingal and Emmie Siervo. Because of this, the workers came into a conclusion that their abduction and the dismantling of their picketline was done with the knowledge and coordination of the company and the company’s guard. Because how can the guards be certain that Galon can be found at Bacao? This is the place where the abductors of the two strikers left them earlier.

The strikers also observed that prior to the incident, the Jantro security guards guarding their picketline had been pulled out for three days already since August 4 (Friday). They found it strange and suspicious because the picketline had been guarded since they started their strike. And another strange and suspicious happenings prior to the abduction on August 6 was on August 1, 2007 the Phils Jeon factory changed four of their guards with the guards from the security guard agency, which is Sunfort Security Agency of their lawyer/counsel Atty. Loreto Ibarreta and only the two guards, Pingal and Siervo had been left from the previous guards.

As of this date, PEZA have still to came out with the investigation report regarding this incident inspite of the constant follow up from the union about the result of their investigation.

This case had caught the attention of the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong and they have been following this up with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (ODOMOLEO) in a letter dated 13 August 2007 addressed to Emilio Gonzales of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices, Mr. Jeong Ho Moon of AHRC urged them to make an investigation and make appropiate action.

In relation to the letter sent by AHRC to the ODOMOLEO, Danilo F. C. Rimonte of the Office Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices sent a letter addressed to P/Supt. Edgar Roquero, Chief of Police of Philippine National Police in Rosario, Cavite last September 03, 2007. He asked “to be furnish with a report relative to incident including progress of the police investigation in relation to the alleged series of violent attacks on CEPZ striking workers within five days from receipt of the letter pursuantto the provision of R.A. 6713”.

On September 7, 2007, the union filed a petition for Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) of the Secretary of DOLE of the case due to the continuous and with impunity, refusal of the management to bargain with the union. The prayer (s) of the case were: for the Office of the Secretary (OS) to to issue an order compelling the respondent company to negotiate with the union or for the OS to issue an order deciding on the granting of CBA benefits on the basis of the parties proposal and counter proposal or on the basis of the petitioner’s proposal shoul dthe respondent company refuse to submit its counter-proposal.

After a series of replies and counter arguments, the OS issued an order dated 19 December 2007 regarding the petition for AJ and which was received by the union on December 20, 2007. The order dismissed the union’s petition.

In a letter dated February 5, 2008 by PEZA sent to the union and in which they received on 21 February 2008, they said that “while the PEZA Police had already conducted an initial investigation of the incident and a report submitted on August 30, 2007, the PEZA Director General created a special investigation team at the head office to conduct a re-investigation thereof. The re-investigation is in its final phase and a report would be released soon, copy furnished the parties concerned.” The letter was signed by a certain Atty. Justo Porfirio Yusingco, of the PEZA legal department

Prepared by:

Research, Documentation, Information and Publication Program
Workers’ Assistance Center Inc. (WAC)

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