By Joseph Cuevas
Progressive organizations condemned the arrest of another labor union organizer and called for his immediate release.
Benjamin ‘Banjo’ Cordero, chairperson of Sandigan ng mga Manggagawa sa Quezon City, was arrested by non-uniformed police officers at around 11:40 pm Tuesday night, October 25.
A warrant of arrest for frustrated homicide was issued by San Mateo (Rizal) Regional Trial Branch 77 on October 24 was issued to Cordero and four others.
The labor organizer said the four other respondents are unknown to him.
Cordero was brought to Batasan Police Station 6 and temporarily detained as of this writing.
In a Facebook Live post from Tudla Productions, Cordero said that his arrest is part of the government’s attacks to silence union organizers and activists.
Cordero’s lawyer Louie Santos said his client did not receive a copy of the complaint for him to reply.
The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned Cordero’s arrest coming as it did mere weeks after fellow labor organizers Kara Taggaoa of KMU International and PISTON leader Larry Balbuena were arrested and detained on charges of direct assault.
“The State has long utilized this scheme, arbitrarily filing trumped-up charges against activists then illegally arresting and detaining them,” KMU said.
The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) also called for the dropping of the charge against Cordero and asked help to raise funds for his bail amounting to P72,000.
Cordero is the Campaign Officer of the Urban Poor Coordinating Council in NCR and the Labor Sector Representative of the Quezon City Development Council.
He is also a former Makabayan-Quezon City coordinator and student activist from Polytechnic University of the Philippines where he served as college student council chairperson in early 2000s. #