Stand Up for Justice! Trade Unionists are not Criminals!
Why this is important
For the last eight years, Virgilio “Gil” Corpuz has been a respected
transport sector unionist from the Philippines. He was untiring in his
efforts to fight the greed of oil giants and the state’s oppressive
taxes, fines and fees driving small transport operators and drivers to
bankruptcy. Now, he is being silenced, intimidated and imprisoned in a
remote mountain jail.
This is an alarming trend of falsely accusing unionists and leaders of
civil society organizations of taking part in rebel ambuscades in places
where they have never even set foot on. Their names and addresses were
altered so that they could not be informed of the charges against them.
They could not defend themselves in any preliminary investigation until
a warrant of arrest comes out. Corpuz, like the rest of the 28 civil
society leaders arrested during the Christmas season of 2012, were all
deprived of liberty without due process of law.
Now, Corpuz is facing a long trial and could unjustly spend the rest of
his life in prison – unless the international community sends strong
signals to the Philippine government that this grave violation of civil
and political rights must be stopped. Civil society leaders must be
protected and supported and not unjustly branded as criminals.