Pasay City Sheriff Virgilio Villar arrived at the PALEA campout at around 3:00 pm yesterday accompanied by some 100 men in white t-shirts or undershirts and blue pants ostensibly to implement an order from Executive Judge Edwin Ramizo of the Pasay RTC. At 4:15 pm, the sheriff and the unidentified men started tearing down streamers at the front of the protest camp but were repulsed by PALEA members. “The sheriff and his goons came back again at 6:00 pm, scuffles broke out but they were finally forced to retreat. All the time, scores of riot police were just a short distance away observing the dispersal attempt,” Rivera explained.
Today the six PALEA members who were sued by PAL for “illegal occupation of the perimeter of PAL’s In-Flight Center (IFC)” submitted their position paper at the sala of Judge Ragasa. PALEA moved for dismissal since the civil courts have no jurisdiction over cases involving or arising out of labor disputes as per Article 254 of the Labor Code. A decision on the case is expected tomorrow.
Rivera argued that “In its insistence in dismantling PALEA’s campout, PAL is exposing its contradictory claims. PAL says that the 2,400 PALEA members cannot be accepted back to work since the airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations departments have been closed and outsourced. So how come PAL alleges that the IFC which houses the catering department is essential to its operations. This raises the suspicions that it will allow Sky Kitchen, a supposed separate entity that at present provides substandard catering service according to reports reaching PALEA, access to the facilities of the IFC.”