Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1122: Charge Sto. Tomas re: Luisita Massacre

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 22 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Who's afraid of Patricia Sto. Tomas?

Charge Sto. Tomas along with the PNP and AFP officers, Cojuangcos for the
Hacienda Luisita Massacre - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that he and fellow
Anakpawis solon Rafael Mariano will file a protest at the Commission on
Appointments against Department of Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas. He said
that not only should Sto. Tomas be removed from the labor department, she should
also be investigated and then charged with collusion with various employers and
businesses against workers in the settlement and resolution of the latter's
cases. Beltran said that Sto. Tomas' most recent decision to assume
jurisdiction over the labor dispute at the Central Azucarera de Tarlac owned by
the family of former Pres. Corazon C. Aquino and to impose a return-to-work
order has are at the core of the violence which erupted last November 16.

"Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should stop protecting Sto. Tomas. Sto. Tomas has
a long record of collusion with employers against workers, be they on strike or
not. She is a favorite with Malacanang and business groups because she is
unabashedly anti-labor, showing no qualms whatsoever about throwing aside the
just and righteous demands of workers and legitimizing the greed of employers,"
he said. "Her role in the massacre of farmworkers and workers of Hacienda
Luisita should not be allowed to escape punishment. At the least, she should be
immediately relieved from her position, but the main clamor is for her to be
charged alongside the officers and members of the Philippine National Police
(PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the CAT management for
the massacre."

"Sto. Tomas, she should be relieved from her post. She deserves to be pilloried
for what she has done - turning a blind eye to the deployment of fully armed
police and military to enforce her AJ and return-to-work order. She abused her
authority, went way beyond the functions of her office and became the defender
of the Cojuangcos and their avarice," he said.

The veteran labor leader expressed outrage anew for the bias being shown for
the Cojuangcos."It was the workers who lost their lives. They have lived under
the yoke of virtual slavery under the Cojuangcos for almost three decades, and
have suffered the hypocrisy of that family day in, day-out. The Cojuangcos have
done nothing to help these people, but done everything to ensure that they are
exploited and oppressed to the hilt. All the reports of the PNP and the
Cojuangcos that there were infiltrators and provocateurs in the strike are
cast-iron lies. Who provoked the workers and farmworkers to launch their
unified strike? The despotic Cojuancos themselves," he said.

"The Cojuangcos and the AFP, PNP are dragging the New People's Army (NPA)
into the issue, muddling the genuine reasons for the strike and trying to
cover up the massacre in the attempt to excuse themselves. Anyone with half
a brain and even just half a heart and has talked to the workers of Hacienda
Luisita and seen their working and living conditions would agree that the
Cojuangcos are immoral and despotic landlords."

Finally, Beltran expressed fear that the investigations of the National Bureau
of Investigations (NBI) would be severely compromised and tampered with
because of pressure from the Cojuangcos. "They are a powerful and influential
family, and have the means and motive to manipulate the results of the NBI
investigations. For the sake of the people the Cojuangcos have had massacred,
it's to be hoped that the NBI keep a close watch over their investigations and
release findings that will corroborate the truth of what happened last
November 16." #


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