PALEA protest as arrested prosecutor returns to work

August 20, 2013

Members and supporters of the ITF affiliated Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) held a protest rally at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on 16 August 2013 as union leaders filed an administrative complaint against assistant prosecutor Diosdado Solidum, Jr.

IPALEA’s complaint demanded the immediate suspension of Solidum. While the union welcomed the filing of separate charges against Solidum last Tuesday, he was freed after posting bail last Wednesday, and yesterday had already reported for work at the DOJ. (See, PALEA prosecutor arrested – union press for suspension)

PALEA also called for the dismissal of the case against 241 of its members for alleged violation of the Civil Aviation Authority Act (CAAA). “We salute DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima for her iron will to fight corruption within her department and in government as shown in the entrapment of Solidum and the crusade against Juliet Lim Napoles. But we urge her to struggle for justice too as workers are wronged by fiscals and prosecutors who make erroneous anti-labour decisions,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president.

Since Solidum’s arrest in an entrapment operation last week, a new DOJ prosecutor will handle PALEA’s petition for review. PALEA filed the petition for review after a Pasay fiscal found probable cause for violation of Section 81 of CAAA pertaining to disruption and destruction of airport services and facilities during PALEA’s protest against outsourcing in 27 September 2011.

Rivera added that the harassment case had a chilling effect on labour relations and is a clear and present danger to workers’ rights. “Labour protests will then be banned in the aviation industry with workers penalized by both imprisonment and fine in violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights. This will be a grave precedent, and new special laws can then be enacted to deny workers the freedoms of assembly, expression, self-organization and strike,” he explained.

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