Saturday, January 22, 2005

NR0122: Sto. Tomas should resign

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release January 22, 2005

Rep. Beltran demands DOLE's Sto. Tomas' resignation over dragging labor row
in Hacienda Luisita; says latter guilty of failure of leadership and abuse of

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today demanded that Department of Labor
and Employment Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas immediately resign and for
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to axe the said official over the gross
failure of leadership and abuse of authority the former has exhibited regarding
the still unresolved Hacienda Luisita labor and land-ownership dispute.

Beltran said that Sto. Tomas has lost all semblance of integrity and is in fact
hanging on to her position only by the skin of her teeth. He said that the fact
that Sto. Tomas remains defiant in the face of the strong clamor for her to
step down only adds to her lack of integrity.

"She is the most despised labor secretary in recent history, and under her
leadership, the DOLE has completely lost all moral right or even legal
credibility to decide on labor issues. Her handling of the labor row in
Hacienda Luisita has exposed her as a government bureaucrat unabashedly on the
side of employers and capitalists, without the slightest sympathy or compassion
for the underdog and much-oppressed workers. It's often said that those who
have less in life should have more in law; but clearly, Sto. Tomas has no
respect for this adage. She has abused her powers as labor secretary time and
again with impunity," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that Sto. Tomas will not be able
to wash her hands of the blood shed in Luisita, and her most recent decisions
declaring the lay-off of the 30 workers and imposing a return-to-work order in
the hacienda regardless of the fact that none of the crucial issues that led to
the strike has been resolved will only add fuel to the fire that would
eventually consume her office.

"If another massacre explodes in Luisita as a result of Sto. Tomas' most recent
declaration, she will again be held accountable. The fact that she has
authorized the Philippine National Police (PNP) and allowed the involvement of
the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) in the strike area also comprises
abuse of authority. The angle of corruption - whether there was an exchange of
money between herself and the management of the Hacienda - is also under
investigation. Sto. Tomas enjoys the support and patronage of big business
groups, and it can't only be because she's a good ally. It's not an
impossibility that she also receives something pecuniary in exchange for her
anti-labor, pro-employer decisions on labor disputes."

"Mark my words, Sto. Tomas will go down in Philippine labor history as a
modern-day Hitler. The DOLE under her leadership has completely shed off all
pretences or facades of being an institution that cares for workers' rights and
welfare. She is an albatross around the neck of the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration - among the most vilified and with justified reason," he said.


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