Pasig court charges 23 in Regent Foods picket dispersal

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Labor group Defend Job Philippines said 23 people were charged with physical injury at the Pasig City Hall of Justice, after their arrest on Saturday, November 9.

In a statement on Sunday, November 10, Defend Job Philippines said that among those charged were 20 Regent Foods Corporation (RFC) workers on strike, two members of their labor group, and a tricycle driver who was watching the violent dispersal around 7 am on Saturday. 

Aside from physical injury, the 23 were charged with resistance and disobedience, as well as alarm and scandal.

Here are the names of those charged, according to Defend Job Philippines:

1. Melanie dela Cruz
2. Laarni Gabriel
3. Enrico Ramos
4. Christopher Distor
5. Virulyn Vesuyan
6. Aileen Batanon
7. Alex Batso
8. Gemma Alvarez
9. Aldo Sanchez
10. Crisanta Lagrisola
11. Benjamin Israel
12. Arnel Ocampo
13. Edmund Timbal
14. Cyril Pumaren
15. Generoso Soliven
16. Christopher Arañas
17. Basilio Cudiamat
18. Romel Agcaoili
19. Antonio Regacho Jr
20. Bonifacio Ramirez
21. Gerardo Gaddi (Defend Job Philippines)
22. Carlo Levanta (Defend Job Philippines)
23. Ronald Montilla (tricycle driver)

Originally, there were 25 of them who were apprehended by the police, but two workers, Rannie Padilla and Judy Salcedo, were already freed on Saturday.

Defend Job Philippines said at least "100 combined forces of goons, security guards, and Philippine National Police" broke the picket line at the RFC compound, wounding several workers on strike.

They claimed that the dispersal was illegal as no legal document or injunction order from the labor department was presented during the assault.

Defend Job Philippines said on Sunday that the workers will file countercharges against the illegal dispersal, and will name the following as respondents:

The violent dispersal came despite ongoing negotiations between union workers and the management at the National Labor Relations Commission and the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

All related disputes are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Pickets may only be dispersed if DOLE issues an order or the courts release a temporary restraining order.

RFC workers went on strike on October 16, to complain about alleged physical and verbal abuses by management, non-implementation of the collective bargaining agreement, and non-recognition of the new leadership within the union.

The union workers also decried alleged contractualization schemes by the company, with some employees working for RFC for about 20 years now.

RFC manufactures snacks like Cheese Ring, Sweet Corn, and Snacku. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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