Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lawyer writes online views from jail

By Karen Lapitan
Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 00:12:00 01/22/2009

Filed Under: Regional authorities, Prison, Human Rights, Armed conflict, rebellion

MANILA, Philippines – A labor lawyer and independent online newspaper columnist continues to voice out his legal opinions even though he has been in detention on murder charges in Calapan City for more than 70 days now.

Remigio Saladero Jr., chief legal counsel of the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, has been held on charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder in connection with an ambush by communist rebels in March 2006.

He is also among the 27 respondents of a complaint filed at the Batangas Prosecutor’s Office for conspiracy to commit rebellion and arson after a Globe Telecommunications cell site was bombed by New People’s Army rebels in August last year.

Saladero was arrested on Oct. 23 last year at his house in Antipolo City by Rizal policemen and members of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines based on a warrant issued by Judge Tomas Leynes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 40 in Calapan on Oct. 8.

Arrest warrants have also been issued against 71 other militant leaders in Southern Tagalog on the same charges.

After 43 days in jail, Saladero resumed writing his weekly column in the online Pinoy Weekly, on Dec. 11 in commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He gives his views on social issues, especially those affecting workers.

In a statement, his wife Maricel, spokesperson of the Free Atty. Saladero Jr. et. al. Coalition (FASC), said he should be “helping workers win legal battles” instead of being put behind bars. Saladero headed the Pro-Labor Assistance Center when he was arrested.

Jobert Pahilga of the National Union of People’s Lawyers said a motion to dismiss the case against Saladero for “lack of probable cause” had already been filed.

On Nov. 27, Representatives Teodoro Casino, Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan and Rafael Mariano filed Resolution No. 887 directing the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the charges against the militant leaders in Southern Tagalog.

Saladero is set to release his book, “Husgahan Natin,” containing his column articles written since 2002 on Feb. 13.

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