Stop filing of trumped up charges against trade union and urban poor leaders

By Tanggol Kabuhayan Pilipinas

Joint statement of BAYAN National Capital Region and KMU National Capital Region

(on the continued threat and criminalization to BAYAN/KMU NCR Chairperson Roy Velez and KMU NCR Deputy Secretary General Amelita “Tita Ami” Gamara)

Workers, urban poor and other sectors under BAYAN NCR and KMU NCR, families and friends of Roy Velez and Amelita Gamara strongly condemn the trumped up multiple murder case filed against them by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. On October 18, an arrest warrant was issued by the Regional Trial Court, Fifth Judicial Region, Branch 64, Labo, Camarines Norte for Roy Velez, Amelita Gamara and 30 other people including Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano who are staffs and organizers of Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement for Government Employees. Vegas and Camposano were abducted on December 3 in Manila and suffers detention in Camarines Norte.

We believe that the strong opposition and campaign against the Public Private Partnership led by Bayan NCR and KMU NCR where Roy Velez and Amelita Gamara are leaders is one of the major reasons why the US-Aquino regime in connivance with big businesses intensified the threat, harassment and criminalization to our leaders through the Oplan Bayanihan. Both Velez and Gamara and other organizers of Bayan NCR and KMU NCR received constant death threats due to the campaign opposing PPP projects such as in Silverio Compound, Freedom Islands, Manila Bay, North Bay Boulevard Business Park, MRT 7, Quezon City Central Business District, North Harbor Privatization and 50 other PPP projects in the National Capital Region which massively demolished the livelihood, homes and the future of urban poor families. Velez and Gamara promote decent jobs and wages and continued to lead the ranks of the workers to junk contractualization and wage cuts through the two tiered wage system. 

We strongly demand that the trumped up charges be withdrawn urgently because Velez and Gamara are not criminals.Roy Velez is a trade union leader and former Vice President of the Philips Semi-Conductors Philippines Inc. Workers union. Right now he is the Chairman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Kilusang Mayo Uno in the National Capital Region. He is also a National Council Member of KMU, Vice Chairperson for Luzon of Anakpawis Partylist and also a nominee of ANAKPAWIS. He heads the SAVE FREEDOM ISLAND MOVEMENT, an alliance opposing the massive reclamation of the seawaters of Las Pinas and Paranaque.  On May 2007, Roy Velez survived from an attempted abduction by the military in his residence in Las Pinas City. At present, he and other fellow trade union and community organizers received constant death threat and different forms of harassment for their participation particularly against the PPP projects in the National Capital Region.

Amelita Gamara is also trade union leader from La Suerte Cigarette and an organizer of workers and urban poor in the National Capital Region. She is currently the Deputy Secretary General of Kilusang Mayo Uno National Capital Region involved in the day to day organizational and campaign work.  She is a board member of Defend Job Philippines, a center campaigning for decent jobs, housing and adequate standard of living. She is also an active leader in the urban poor alliance Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap in the National Capital Region, an alliance at the forefront in the fight against demolition, anti-vending policy and advancing national industrialization and land reform as the genuine solution to the root causes of poverty.

We call for lands, decent jobs, housing and for our basic human right and not vilification, criminalization and harassment to leaders of the national democratic movement and to anyone who are fighting for their rights and for meaningful social change. On April 3, 2012, Renante Gamara, husband of Amelita Gamara who is also a trade union leader, community organizer and National Democratic Front Consultant for Metro Manila was abducted in Las Pinas by members of Philippine National Police’s Criminal investigation and Detection Group and Intelligence Service of Armed Forces of the Philippines and charged with murder and kidnapping and detained in Camp Crame.  In Silverio Compound, residents were illegally arrested and 10 are still detained and the leaders were charged with offenses by simply fighting for their right to home. On November 29, Marites Bacolod of the Sandigan ng Maralitang Nagkaksaisa in Corazon de Jesus was arrested and 9 community leaders were also issued arrest warrant for their continued struggle against the demolition.

We stand that it should be the government of Aquino, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their cohorts who should be arrested, detained and punished for their crimes against the people and for gross violations of human rights.  To count, under the Aquino regime, there were 129 victims of extra judicial killings as and 10 of them are urban poor in the National Capital Region including Arnel Leonor who was shot by the PNP during a demolition in Silverio Compound in Paranaque City on April 23, 2012 and Antonio Homo who was killed in his house in the midst of their campaign against demolition. 

Finally, we strongly call to everyone to condemn the continued vilification and criminalization operations to our progressive leaders and human rights defenders like Roy Velez and Amelita Gamara and to anyone fighting for the right to land, work, just wages, housing, food, health, education, for children and women, standard of living and for meaningful social change.

Join us on December 10, in commemorating the international human rights day with massive protest action against different forms of human rights violations.

8:00-10:00 AM at the Department of Justice to slam the DOJ and pressure the government to withdraw the trumped up charges.

10:00 AM March to Morayta and Mendiola main program

OUR CALLS

Decent Jobs and housing, not criminalization!

P125 wage increase, not warrant of arrest!

Stop Demolition! Stop political harassment! No to Public Private Partnership Program of Aquino!

Junk the trumped up charges against Roy Velez, Amelita Gamara, and other human rights defenders!

Stop filing of trumped up and politically motivated charges! Free all political prisoners!

FIGHT OPLAN BAYANIHAN!

Please send protest letters to:  

  1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
    President Republic of the Philippines
    Malacanang Palace
    JP Laurel Street, San Miguel Manila
    1005 PHILIPPINES
    Fax: +63 2 736 1010
    Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

  2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
    Commission on Human Rights
    SAAC Building, Commonwealth Avenue
    U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
    PHILIPPINES
    Fax: +63 2 929 0102
    Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
    E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

  3. Director General Nicanor Bartolome
    Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
    Camp General Rafael Crame
    Quezon City PHILIPPINES
    Fax: +63 2724 8763
    Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
    E-mail: ruth_cossid@yahoo.com

  4. Ms. Leila de Lima
    Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
    DOJ Building, Padre Faura
    1004 Manila PHILIPPINES
    Fax: +63 2 521 1614
    E-mail: soj@doj.gov.ph

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