Philippine Supreme Court reinstates labour leader

Philippine Supreme Court reinstates labour leader
Ernesto Herrera

The Supreme Court has affirmed with finality the reinstatement of former Sen. Ernesto Herrera as the legitimate president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), ending a four-year leadership squabble in the country's largest labour confederation.

The court's First Division, chaired by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the TUCP faction of Democrito Mendoza, saying no further pleadings or motions shall be entertained.

In its resolution, issued on June 3, the high court said there was "neither compelling reason nor any substantial argument" to warrant a modification of its resolution in August 2014 dismissing Mendoza's certiorari suit.

The high tribunal also denied Mendoza's plea to refer the case to the court en banc, "the latter not being an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of the divisions may be appealed."

In a statement, Herrera thanked the high court for its ruling and vowed to return the TUCP to normalcy.

"With the Supreme Courts' decision, the TUCP will resume full operation and engagement with tripartite partners, without encumbrance. As the biggest trade union confederation in the Philippines, we reiterate our commitment towards equity, inclusive growth, workers' protection and decent work for all," he said.

Herrera's faction is expected to wrest TUCP's party-list seat in the House of Representatives from Mendoza's group. The seat is currently occupied by Mendoza's son, Raymond.

The TUCP leadership impasse started when Mendoza resigned as president effective Nov. 1, 2011. Herrera, then the general secretary, assumed the presidency in accordance with TUCP's constitution.

However, Mendoza revoked his resignation after his faction accused Herrera of misrepresentation as to which TUCP group he belonged to. Herrera and his supporters were later expelled.

Mendoza's group occupied the TUCP office in Quezon City and evicted Herrera and his supporters.

But Herrera continued to be recognised by the Belgium-based International Trade Union Confederation and other international labour groups. His faction also retained control of the TUCP website.

The Department of Labor and Employment's Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) intervened after both factions elected separate sets of officers.

In August 2012, the BLR issued a status quo ante order returning Mendoza and Herrera to their previous positions and ordering the holding of special elections.

Herrera appealed the decision to the secretary of labour. When this was rejected in May 2013, Herrera elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.

In October 2013, the appellate court annulled the SQA order and validated Herrera's ascension as TUCP president.

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