February 22, 2019
Atty. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Dear Secretary Guevarra,
Philippines Australia Union Link has been working since 1984 to strengthen the solidarity between the union movements of our two countries.
We utterly condemn the Duterte government for the operation in which Maoj Maga was detained on February 22, 2018. Maoj is an organiser of the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center. He was accosted on a basketball court by at least a dozen men, blindfolded and forced into a vehicle without knowing why or where he was being taken. At the police headquarters, he was subjected to hours of interrogation and not given the chance to contact his lawyers and family. The arresting officers added to the outrage with the absurd charge or a murder in far away Mindanao, and planted a .45 caliber pistol on him. Maoj was put through misery in several congested prisons as well as a quarantine-isolation cell.
On this first anniversary of his unlawful detention, we call for his immediate release from the Metro Manila District Jail-Annex 4 in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City, along with the release of the other thirty-five political prisoners there.
In fact, we call loudly for the release of all detained trade unionists in the Philippines and all 500 plus political prisoners held in jails across the country, an end to the repression and for genuine peace negotiations to resolve the deep crisis in Philippines society.
Cc Hon Chito Gascon, Commission on Human Rights; Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Senator Penny Wong; Senator Richard Di Natale; Ms Michelle Bachelet OHCHR; KMU; Karapatan