Filipino trade union condemns imprisonment of labor leader

Statement by staff |
June 6, 2019
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Free Maoj Maga! Free All Political Prisoners! -  Kilusang Mayo Uno

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following June 4 statement from the militant trade union Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).

Court decision on Maga's case, unjust, anti-union

We protest the guilty verdict handed down by the San Mateo Regional Trial Court against trade unionist and political prisoner Maoj Maga. He was convicted yesterday on the case of illegal possession of firearms and was sentenced to prison for a minimum of eight years and one day.

The court’s decision is biased against trade unionists and is leaning towards the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP). It serves their objective of preventing key leaders and organizers of the militant trade union Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and PISTON from organizing workers to assert their demands.

The charges laid against Maga were baseless. The evidence was planted. The real criminals here are the police who illegally arrested Maga and came out with false testimonies. They blatantly lied in their testimonies and the court based its decision only on these lies, and nothing more. Maga’s basic rights to liberty and due process were grossly violated.

The police lied, and by affirming their lies, the court also committed a serious crime and violated the law, apart from violating Maga's rights.

The decision to keep Maga detained comes timely when the issue of banning provincial buses, phasing out of jeepneys, and implementing route rationalization and fleet management are about to spark public outrage.

Months before his arrest in February 2018, Maga was one of the leading organizers of public utility drivers who conducted a series of transport strikes against the phasing out of jeepneys.

The Duterte government is afraid that by releasing Maga, drivers and commuters will have a young and vibrant organizer back to work.

We in the labor movement will not stop fighting for Maoj Maga's release. He should not be punished for being a trade union organizer.

The court should review its decision and let truth and justice prevail.

Free Maoj Maga! Free all political prisoners!