Labor groups want Probinsyano rep ousted despite his apology
Labor groups on Friday demanded the resignation of Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred delos Santos, citing his “despicable” and “barbaric” behavior toward a waiter in Legazpi City who is a member of the sector he claims to represent.
Delos Santos on Thursday publicly apologized for punching Christian Kent Alejo, while a member of the waiter’s family said they would no longer press charges against the incoming party list congressman.
“I am sorry not only to Mr. Christian Kent Alejo and his family but also to the people who voted for Ang Probinsyano. Sorry for disappointing you,” Delos Santos said, adding he was “deeply grateful that [the waiter’s family] properly received me and accepted my apology.”
“I will prove it by working hard to deliver our party platform and campaign promises to fellow probinsyanos, and from hereon conduct myself as an exemplary public servant worthy of the trust and confidence our people placed on us last election,” he said.
“I am not a bully or a troublemaker … The people who know me well can attest to that,” Delos Santos added.
Still, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) urged Alejo to “proceed and file a complaint” against Delos Santos, saying it was willing to extend “legal and political support” to the waiter.
“It is obvious that the lawmaker committed grave abuse and he should be made accountable for his actions. The congressman is not immune from criminal suit [for an act] which happened outside Congress. [He] can also be charged at the House ethics committee for unethical behavior,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.
Partido Manggagawa national chair Rene Magtubo added: “A student who punches his peer is liable to be expelled from school. A worker who hits a customer will definitely be terminated, and will probably be arrested and jailed. But Delos Santos is still walking free and engaging in verbal acrobatics to assuage public outrage.”
Caught on video
In the wee hours of July 7, Delos Santos was caught on video hitting Alejo in the head while the waiter was setting a table for the lawmaker and his companions at Bigg’s Diner in Legazpi City.
Delos Santos’ party Ang Probinsyano—a group that mimicked the title of a popular TV serial and banked on the popularity of its stars—won two seats in the May 13 polls, garnering more than 767,000 votes.
“We have a party list representative who attacks and abuses a lowly worker. Obviously, the party list system has to be overhauled if it is to be true to the constitutional mandate that it be a mechanism to give representation and voice to the marginalized,” Magtubo said.
Federation of Free Workers vice president Julius Cainglet said Delos Santos’ “barbaric act” showed he was “not fit for the job” as a legislator.
“How can a true probinsyano do harm to a [fellow] probinsyano?” Cainglet said. “A waiter’s job is a decent job and a dignified job. No waiter, no worker deserves disrespect especially from an elected public official, a party list representative at that, who is expected to champion the cause of the marginalized.”
Sentro secretary general Josua Mata said “this incident reveals how many people in power can be so abusive.”
Hours before the lawmaker issued a public apology on Thursday, Ang Probinsyano spokesperson Joco Sabio said that “definitely, we will not tolerate any kind of abuse in our party. We will not hesitate to suspend or even remove Congressman Delos Santos if we establish that this was an unprovoked attack.” —WITH REPORTS FROM MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES AND MICHAEL JAUCIAN
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