[From the web] Court increases bail for falsely charged workers – CTUHR.org

The Regional Trial Court in Morong, Rizal under Presiding Judge Sheila Marie A. Ignacio denied with finality the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) to not implement a bail increase for the twenty Karnation Industries workers falsely charged with serious illegal detention in 2007 after launching a strike against unfair labor practices committed by the company.

Citing the July 25-decision that there is “no congent reason to disturb the ruling embodied,” Judge Ignacio upheld the bail modification previously ordered by Judge Ma. Teresa Cruz-San Gabriel who inhibited from the case after she denied the MR of Karnation Industries to revoke the bail grant. Judge San Gabriel however increased the bail from P60,000 to P80,000.

Following the decision, Atty. Remigio Saladero, counsel of the Karnation 20, filed a petition to extend bail payment until end of December arguing that the workers not capable of paying the additional bail because of difficulty in finding secure and well-paying jobs. The motion was approved in October 10.

Added burden

Photo from CTUHR.org

Despite the extension, the workers continue to lament the added burden of posting extra bail. Having an unresolved criminal case has made been an obstacle for getting hired. Lucky are those among them who are admitted in construction projects which are not even regular jobs.

Some of them are also forced to accept jobs with very little pay. Polido Bagono or Boyet for instance, works as a security guard for a construction site for only P150 for staying almost 24 hours in the building.

The Karnation 20 were incarcerated for almost three years. Two of them died due to respiratory ailments inside prison. The bail granted by Judge San Gabriel after a series of campaign and appeal letters from labor rights groups and advocates was a major leap to the case. The remaining workers obtained temporary freedom after posting bail through a surety bond in 2010.

Call for support

Given the developments, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights intensified its call for support to the Karnation 20 and to appeal to the court to expedite the resolution of the case.

Norman Tubera, CTUHR program coordinator said, “The slow resolution of the case adds to the agony of the workers. Unless the criminal case is resolved the workers are cleared from charges, they will continue to have difficulties in finding decent jobs and will be forced to accept wages that are far below the minimum.”

Tubera also expressed worries that with the holidays approaching, sufficient money for the additional bail must be raised and be posted as soon as possible to prevent the workers from being arrested and taken back to prison.

“We are appealing to all our partners and friends and colleagues in the labor rights struggle to support the Karnation 20. Their predicament mirrors the worsening conditions of workers and relentless suppression of unions not only in the Philippines but in the entire world. Any positive result of this campaign advances our collective fight for rights and justice.”###

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