Militant solon decries
harassment of staff; demands Congress to explain
Reference person: Joel
Contact information: 0928-4279255
Date: November 9, 2009
Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod today demanded the House of Representatives
leadership to explain the alleged background checking ordered by Congress
Sergeant-At-Arms Ret. Brig.Gen Horacio Lactao on one of his legislative
staff, Maureen Hermitanio.
Last October 24, 26, 28 and November 3, two unidentified men, went looking
for Hermitanio, at her residence in San Mateo, Rizal and insisted to talk
to her for background investigation allegedly ordered by Brig. Gen. Lactao.
The men, in plainclothes, repeatedly refused to give any identification
and leave the documents on the alleged background check order, initially
presented themselves as members of the San Mateo Police.
In all instances, they stressed that the background checking was ordered
by Brig. Gen. Lactao and needed for Hermitanio’s work in Congress. The men
are also looking for several other congressional staff members of
party-list organizations based on a list in their possession.
Last November 5, Hermitanio, together with Maglunsod’s Chief Political
Affairs Officer Lualhati Roque and Anakpawis staff Ofelia Beltran-Balleta
confronted the police agent who was identified as PO1 Bonifacio Dela Cruz.
He named his companion as PO2 Ireneo Descaya. Dela Cruz said they were
just following orders from San Mateo Police Chief Intelligence Officer
It was only then that Anakpawis discovered that conduct of background
investigation (CBI) order was based on a memorandum from the Philippine
National Police (PNP) CALABARZON Regional Office dated July 22 and a
letter request from HOR Sgt-At-Arms Horacio Lactao dated July 1 addressed
to the PNP, a memorandum from a certain TDI dated July 3, and an action
slip from the Office of Chief PNP dated July 1, 2009 as part of the
preparation for the opening of Congress’ 3rd regular session and President
Arroyo’s SONA last July.
Other partylist congressional staff included in the order were Tony C.
Rom, Agnes Marcell C. Lorenzana, Teresa C. Del Rosario, all residents of
Rep. Maglunsod attempted several times to personally confirm the 'CBI
order' with Gen. Lactao but the latter was on leave according to
Legislative Security Bureau personnel.
“We need to know if there is indeed an order from Sgt-At-Arms Lactao for
the conduct of background investigation on Hermitanio and other
congressional staff of either partylist House members or district
representatives,“ the Anakpawis solon said.
“We strongly condemn this case of harassment and invasion of privacy
against Ms. Hermitanio and Anakpawis Partylist,” Maglunsod said as he
noted the suspicious timing of the surveillance activity with barely weeks
before the deadline of the filing of candidacy for the 2010 national
“We will file a house resolution to investigate this case and we also
expect Sgt-At-Arms Lactao and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to answer
and address this issue.”
Maglunsod added, “It is crucial and imperative to know if Congress is
giving out personal information like name, address and other details of
its employees and congressional staff to non-civilian entities like the
PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and if the HOR is in
coordination with such institutions regarding surveillance activities on
House Members, as well as congressional staff and employees.“
“The House leadership must look into this matter with due diligence as it
is the duty of Congress to protect and look after the welfare and security
of all its employees.”
The solon’s office already sought legal advice and will take legal actions
on the matter. Maglunsod said they are also considering filing a complaint
before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Hermitanio is employed as Maglunsod’s Political Affairs Officer II since
April 2009. She also previously worked as a legislative staff and
researcher of Rep. Rafael Mariano and as public information officer of the
late Rep. Crispin Beltran. She is also a former consultant of the
Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment (COCLE). She is
an advocate of labor rights, an active technology blogger and writes for
various online publications. ###
Poor, hungry Pinoys won’t vote
for Arroyo in 2010 – Rep. Maglunsod
Contact information: 0928-4279255
Date: November 6, 2009
Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod said the increasing number of ‘food-poor’
Filipinos who have rated themselves poorer in the latest Social Weather
Station (SWS) survey can be well attributed to the national government’s
constant refusal to grant any economic relief for Filipinos. Recently, the
Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) announced that workers can’t
expect for any wage increase this year.
In the latest survey, 53 percent or more than 9 million Filipinos
considered themselves poor. Maglunsod said, “despite the increasing
cost-of-living, Malacanang maintains its iron-fist stance against any wage
increase for the country’s wage earners.”
The non-granting of wage hike is one of the major reasons why Filipinos
will not allow Arroyo to sit in any elected or appointed position after
her term. For the past eight years, Arroyo persistently refused demands
legislated wage increase for workers.”
On a wider scale, the incumbent government’s economic policies, record of
corruption and human rights abuses are significant restraints to Arroyo’s
political ambitions beyond 2010.
The solon added, “Filipinos have a million and one reasons why they won’t
vote for Arroyo. With her
track record as President, Arroyo doesn’t stand a chance in the 2010
polls, unless of course, she uses COMELEC and the administration machinery
to institute a wide-spread, nationwide vote-padding and shaving (dagdag-bawas)
to her favor, like what she did in 2004 to win the presidential
Reports said Arroyo is eyeing a Congressional seat in the 2nd district of
Pampanga and also considers the Vice-Presidential post, as hinted by
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez. “Both VP and Congressional posts will make
Arroyo immune from any legal prosecution of her crimes against the
people,” the solon said.
Maglunsod encouraged all social sectors, from poor to rich people to
oppose Arroyo’s 2010 candidacy plans.
“Arroyo’s greed for power and position is utterly offensive, even to
middle-class sectors. The masses have
had enough of her corrupt and burdensome leadership. We say no way to
Arroyo in Malacanang or Congress after 2010, over our dead bodies,” the
solon concluded. ###
Wage hikes always
necessary, with or without crisis – Rep. Maglunsod
Reference person: Joel B. Maglunsod
Contact information: 0928-2794255
Date: October 29, 2009
Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod said the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government
will leave a legacy as the 'worst, anti-poor and anti-worker government'
the Philippines ever had for perpetually refusing to grant any wage
increase for the country's workforce.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and National Wages and
Productivity Commission's (NWPC) announced that there will be no wage
increase for the rest of 2009 because the 'financial crisis is far from
Maglunsod said, “this lame excuse refutes all pronouncements of the
government on so-called economic resiliency and recovery.”
“We challlenge Mrs. Arroyo, DoLE Secretary Marianito Roque, NPWC Director
Ciriaco Lagunzad III and everyone down the Arroyo cabinet to try living
for only P382 a day, the average daily minimum wage received by workers in
the National Capital Region.”
“Since day one, Mrs. Arroyo showed her class bias towards big business and
her aversion to wage hike demands and everything that workers are fighting
for,” the labor leader turned solon said.
With this declaration of wage freeze, Maglunsod said “Mrs. Arroyo must
prepare for 'political payback' as 'workers will settle the scores come
May 2010 national elections.'
He added that the legislative measure for the granting of P125
across-the-board nationwide wage increase for workers in the private
sector or the wage hike bill was virtually archived by the House
“The wage hike bill was first filed in 2001 during the 12th Congress,
Anakpawis Partylist refiled it during the 13th and 14th Congresses but up
to now, it was not given any substantial consideration by the
He said workers need urgent economic relief and not DoLE's 'holiday
“At this time of global financial crisis, workers all the more need
additional wages to cope with the impact of the economic crunch. Big
business and employers can get by the crisis as they have all the means
and resources but wage and salary workers rely only on their income to
make ends meet,” Maglunsod said.
As a matter of state policy, it is the government's responsibility promote
the welfare and raise the standard of living of workers; and granting of
substantial and immediate wage hike is necessary with or without crisis.”
he concluded. #