Court of Appeals reinstates labor leader
MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals (CA) has reinstated former Sen. Ernesto Herrera as president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the country’s biggest labor federation, after he was ousted amid a leadership squabble in 2011.
The court’s Seventh Division, in a 32-page decision dated Oct. 7, said Herrera should remain as holdover president until the labor group elects a new set of leaders.
The appellate court also ordered Democrito Mendoza, recognized by the Department of Labor and Employment as the TUCP president, “to desist or refrain from doing any act” that would go against the court’s ruling.
It will be recalled that Herrera, then TUCP secretary general, took over as acting president of the labor group after Mendoza submitted his resignation. Mendoza, however, continued to perform the functions of president and, in January the following year, locked out Herrera, his allies and supporters from the TUCP headquarters in Quezon City.
The Herrera faction filed a case in the labor department’s Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), which ordered a return to the status quo and called for a special convention of TUCP members to decide the leadership dispute.
The appeals court, however, said that the BLR committed a grave abuse of discretion when it ordered the status quo, saying: “In this case, the order directing the parties to observe the state of affairs prior to Mendoza’s resignation was aimed at restraining Herrera from exercising the powers of TUCP president. It closed its eyes to the obvious fact that Mendoza had resigned as president.”
The appeals court also ordered the TUCP’s general council to elect Herrera’s replacement as secretary general. The BLR and the Herrera camp were also ordered to submit a list of TUCP member-unions.
“There is simply no evidence that the resignation of Mendoza was whimsical, arbitrary, capricious or uncertain. Hence, on such date, the TUCP presidency became vacant,” the court said in the decision written by Justice Noel Tijam.
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