Press statement 4th June 2019.
Trade union organizer Maoj Maga raised his fist in defiance of the court decision finding him guilty based on planted evidence. Eleanor, KMU secretary for human rights and wife of Maga in this photo comforts their son.
Maga was arrested last year without warrant while playing basketball with other school kids' parents after taking their son to school. The police said Maga was illegally carrying a gun during that time which is ludicrous for someone who is playing basketball near the school.
We decry the decision of the court to declare labor rights activist and union organizer Maoj Maga guilty. He was convicted yesterday on the case of illegal possession of firearms and was sentenced to prison for a minimum of eight years and one day.
The San Mateo Regional Trial Court decision is biased against trade unionists and is leaning towards the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP). It serves their objective of preventing key leaders and organizers of the militant trade union Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and PISTON from organizing workers to assert their demands.
The charges laid against Maga are baseless. The evidence was planted. The real criminals here are the police who illegally arrested Maga and came out with false testimonies. They blatantly lied in their testimonies and the court based its decision only on these lies, and nothing more. Maga’s basic rights to liberty and due process are grossly violated.
The police lied, and by affirming their lies, the court also committed a serious crime and violated the law, apart from violating Maga's rights.
The decision to keep Maga detained comes timely when the issue of banning provincial buses, phasing out of jeepneys, and implementing route rationalization and fleet management are about to spark public outrage.
Months before his arrest in February 2018, Maga was one of the leading organizers of public utility drivers who conducted a series of transport strikes against the phasing out of jeepneys.
The Duterte government is afraid that by releasing Maga, drivers and commuters would have a young and vibrant organizer back to work.
We in the labor movement will not stop fighting for Maoj Maga's release. He should not be punished for being a trade union organizer.
The court should review its decision and let truth and justice prevail.
Free Maoj Maga! Free all political prisoners!