29 April 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) find it utterly necessary to include Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and other officials in the plunder case filed by former Solicitor General Frank Chavez against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“The use of OWWA money to buy votes in 2004 had long been discussed in many fora. Now is the time to make the guilty parties accountable for squandering millions of OFW funds,” said PM chair Renato Magtubo.
Meanwhile, PALEA President Gerry Rivera called anew on Secretary Baldoz to resign from her post immediately amid the raging controversy.
According to Magtubo, Baldoz together with other members of the OWWA Board cannot dissociate themselves from this crime of Gloria since they facilitated the conversion of OFW funds into election dole outs in 2004.
“In fact workers here and abroad have very strong doubt that Malacanang and labor and officials are only interested in the funds rather than in protecting the welfare of OFWs,” added Magtubo.
Some P530 million of OWWA funds were transferred to Philhealth in 2003. These were allegedly used to finance the distribution of Philhealth cards during the 2004 election campaigns. Chavez said the fund transfer is illegal.
“During her time, all that’s coming out of the labor department are bad news,” said Rivera, stating as an example the ruling she made on the PAL-PALEA case where she abused her discretion in allowing Lucio Tan to layoff and contract out 2,600 regular jobs in violation of the existing collective bargaining agreement, the Constitution, the Labor Code and International Labor Organization’s conventions.
“And now that she is being associated to Gloria’s misuse of OWWA funds, all the more we suspect that her recent decisions on labor cases do not come from a clean hand,” concluded Rivera.