On February 5, 2009, the case against six Philippines labour organiser has been ordered quashed by the Regional Trial court (4th Judicial Region) Oriental Mindoro Branch. The six were immediately released from the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail. This ruling does, however, not cover the entire group of labour activist that was accused of murder and attempted in October 2008.
The case against Atty. Remigio Saladero, Jr., Emmanuel Dioneda, Rogelio Galit, Nestor San Jose, Sr., Crispin Zapanta, and Arnaldo Seminiano has been ordered “quashed” by judge Manuel C.Luna, Jr. yesterday, Feb. 5, 2009. So far the good news.
Other concerned labour activists, however, are not covered by this judgment. Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion member of Board of Trustees of the Workers Assistance Center (WAC), for example, is still in hiding, for fear of being arrested. WAC continues to be most concerned about the pseudo-legal means that are being applied to silence human rights defenders in the Philippines. Manny Asuncion and the other accused face malicious murder charges. WAC has made an issue of pointing out the lack of due judicial process in this complex case.
On November 30, WAC brought out an urgent appeal about this case. Several international organisations expressed their solidarity, including the United Steel Workers (November 26, 2008), Misereor (December 17, 2008), and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (December 17, 2008).
The order can be found here (PDF).