Batangas court dismisses "terrorism financing" case against unionist in Southern Tagalog

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This article is available in Pilipino

Due to lack of evidence, a Batangas court dismissed on May 23 the case of “terrorism financing” against unionist leader Rhoel Alconera, second president of the Unyon ng mga Panadero in Gardenia Philippines-Olalia-KMU. The Department of Justice (DoJ) filed the case against him, at the instigation of the 2nd ID and its “witnesses”, last March.

The case was based on the allegations of state “witnesses” who identified themselves as “rebel returnees.” They said Alconera gave P4 million and other equipment to the New People’s Army (NPA) in 2019. Alconera strongly denied this accusation.

“Alconera has spent years defending workers’ rights of association and decent jobs,” Defend Southern Tagalog said. He worked as a contractual worker in various factories in Laguna before becoming a union leader in Gardenia.

The “rebel returnees” employed by the 2nd ID were all workers at the Coca-Cola plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna. This includes Albert Verzosa, a National Task Force-Elcac agent. They narrated to the court the “script” prepared by the soldiers against Alconera. The court did not believe the allegations.

While the case was being heard from March to May, the military relentessly intimidated and harassed Alconera. The military repeatedly hounded him, and even his family, to force his “cooperation.” They even threatened with an arrest warrant against him, despite the then absence of a court decision.

“These cases against Alconera, and others working for freedom of association in formal and informal labor, across all lines of industry and advocacy, only prove that the Marcos Jr. administration has expanded its playbook, now evidently used nationwide,” the network added.

Harassments like these against democratic organizations have intensified since the Marcos regime released the National Security Plan 2023-2028. It clearly states the policy to “intensify action against the legal fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF to…cut off the source of finance.” Anyone it accusses of links to the revolutionary movement is arbitrarily and baselessly harassed.

AB: Batangas court dismisses "terrorism financing" case against unionist in Southern Tagalog