Saturday, June 26, 2010

Militants to Aquino: Sue Arroyo, free political prisoners

Militants to Aquino: Sue Arroyo, free political prisoners*

By Maila Ager

MANILA, Philippines -- A militant women's group on Wednesday held a rally outside President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's home in Quezon City, demanding the release of all women and political prisoners and the immediate prosecution of his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

On board a vehicle, some 20 members of the group Gabriela managed to sneak in front of Aquino's residence at Times Street at around 10:30 am to hold a short program.

In a statement, the group reminded Aquino of his promise to go after Arroyo and her minions.

"We take him to task on that promise and like the rest of the country, we expect no less from him," said Joms Salvador, deputy secretary-general of Gabriela.

"If Aquino would be truthful to his promise of leading the people to 'daang matuwid,' [straight path] he should jail the culprit and free the innocents. He should work for Arroyo's imprisonment and free women and all political prisoners," Salvador added.

Salvador said there are 61 women out of 344 political prisoners under the Arroyo administration

"These women political prisoners suffered from the hands of their captors and many of them were sexually abused."

"They are also in a most detrimental condition where they are continually made vulnerable to all forms of harassment, be these sexual, physical or emotional," Salvador further stated.

Another group of protesters, leaders and members of the Philippine Airlines Employee's Association, also staged a rally to seek Aquino's intervention on the brewing labor dispute at the Philippine Airlines.

In a decision dated June 15, acting Labor Secretary Romeo Lagman found the planned mass lay off of some 30, 000 PAL employees' "contracting out" to be lawful and based on a “valid exercise of management prerogative.”

The PAL union wants the incoming Labor Secretary to be given the right to study and decide on the issue "according to procedure and on a just basis."

In a letter to Aquino, the union also asked for the cleansing of corrupt officials in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and reform of the policy regarding contractualization.