September 30, 2006
Eight workers illegally arrested and falsely charged
As crack down on strikers and workers supportive of them continues,
eight workers were illegally arrested and charged on September 28 in
Armed without any arrest or search warrants, elements of the Philippine
Economic Zone Authority (Peza) police and Jantro security guards
started arresting workers who were staying at a warehouse inside the
Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ).
They arrested and subsequently turned over workers Gemma Lape, Lorna
Reli, Ivy Villasan, Analou Estrimos, Glaysa Layesi, Josephine Bahar,
Pablito Sapata and Rodelito Amo to the Rosario Municipal Police Station
(RMPS) where they are presently detained. The Peza police and Jantro
guards arrested them over allegations they are facilitating storage of
supply of food to workers on strike nearby.
It can be recalled that workers of two of the Korean-owned factories,
Phils Jeon Garments, Inc. and Chong Won Fashion, Inc. inside the CEPZ
went on strike since September 25.
The Peza police and Jatro security has since imposed food blockade at
the picket line of Chong Won strikers. The workers on strike insist
that the violent dispersal and actions against them had orders from
Peza director general Lilia De Lima.
Although the arrested workers, seven of them are former employees of
another Korean-owned garment factory SP Ventures Inc., has since been
allowed to stay at the warehouse, the Peza police insisted they are
trespassing. On September 29, charges of trespassing and inciting to
sedition were filed against the eight workers.
While on their way to the police station, one of the arrested workers,
Gemma Lape overheard one of the female Peza police threatening that she
should be killed. The Peza police at the time were questioning her
involvement in the on going strike. The Peza police forced her to admit
her involvement but Lape insisted her innocence.
"Sabi n'ya sanay 'yan. I-salvage nalang natin (She said I am
smart. So why don't they just kill me),"according to Lape. In
Philippine context, the term salvage is equivalent to extra-judicial
killing. It was used during the Martial law days.
Once they arrived at the Rosario police station, the police
investigators started illegally searching the workers' personal
belongings and seized Lape's mobile phone. They subjected each one of
them for questioning in absence of their legal counsel and against
their will. The police investigators later refused to free them
claiming they have found materials of "subversive" contents. They
were padlocked inside the police detention center.
While in detention, the police custodian either refused to or made
alibis not to provide food and medicines to the eight arrested workers.
Those assisting the workers have had to get food and medicines for
As this developed, on September 29, workers on strike at Chong Won have
already been prevented by Peza police and Jantro security from entering
the CEPZ. Not only they cancelled the workers' zones passes and
company IDs, they also confiscated them effectively preventing workers
on strike from entry. The food blockade is also still in effect.
It can be recalled that on September 27, the workers on strike at Chong
Won, Peza officials and the management held a dialogue. Among those
agreed upon is that workers must not be prevented entry and out of CEPZ
and that their access to food must not be blocked. All this agreement,
however, has not been implemented and ignored.
The names of strikers at Chong Won that should have been allowed free
access of entry and going out was instead being used as list of black
listed and banned workers by the Peza police and Jantro guards. This,
after the Chong Won Fashion, Inc. management issued a memorandum
preventing their workers on strike from entry.