Updated October 10, 2010

Due to insufficiency of evidence Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Vivian Monzon-Rojo dismissed qualified theft charges against 25 union members of Golden Will Fashion Philippines Workers Organization-Independent (GWFPWO-Ind) on the 4
of May 2010.

The Workers Assistance Center, Inc. (WAC) received the decision on July 12, 2010 after almost two years of litigation and struggle of the union workers of GWFPWO-Ind. The case was dismissed after Arman Valdez, also a worker of the GWFI, recanted his previous sworn statement that implicated the 23 union officers and active members of GWFPO-Independent to the lost of the company’s products. Valdez stated in his recent affidavit that Adoracion Abellano, administrative manager of GWFI, forced him to execute his statement accusing the 23 union officers and members in exchange of a regular job and cash. He further asserted that the GWFI action has the ulterior motive of destroying and busting the union.

GWFPWO-Independent was formed on August 5, 2007 and registered at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on August 21, 2007. The union is composed of all rank-and-file workers in the company with which we tested to include contractual workers who are re-hired repeatedly in the company not lower than a year.

The allegations against the workers came up on November 21, 2008 when the Golden Will Fashion, Inc. (GWFI) has allegedly lost about 112 pieces of jackets and vests amounting to Php 2,435,251.04. The alleged lost products were scheduled for shipment on November 28, 2008 that prompted the management to arbitrarily dismiss 25 union officers and members on the 22nd of December of the same year.

Part of the International Labor Organization (ILO) High-Level Mission to the Philippines on September 25, 2009, an ILO team visited the Southern Tagalog region. The union presented their case before the ILO team in view of the GWFI’s violation of ILO Convention 87 that include suspicious vacations and retrenchment resulted mainly to busting the union threats and harassment, intervention of employer and local government officials in union affairs, filing of criminal charges against union members, all of which violates workers’ right to freedom of association.

Due to this recent development, the workers filed an illegal dismissal case against the GWFPI at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) Region IV-A on June 21, 2010.

GWFPI is a 100% Chinese-owned factory producing T-shirts, ladies blouses, polo shirts, pants/jog pants, sleepwear, and other wearing apparel. It is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Golden Will Fashions, Ltd. and Tungtex Holdings Co. Ltd.  Its buyers include Ann Taylor, and Ralph Lauren. It started its operation in 1999 at the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) located in Brgy. Langkaan, Dasmariñas, Cavite.

It filed a permanent cease of operation on September 15, 2009 at DOLE and reported to be currently operating in Victoria, Laguna.
The case of the Golden Will workers was just one of the several cases of criminal charges the workers and unions in Cavite have been fighting against.  

It will be recalled that in March 2009, 33 union leaders and members of unions at Chong Won Fashion, Inc. and Phils Jeon Garments Inc. and two organizers from Solidarity of Cavite Workers were issued warrants of arrest on cases of direct assault upon agents in authority and grave coercion charges filed against them by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) policemen and Jantro security guards.

Rosario Municipal Trial Court Judge Rita E. Quizon dismissed the case in November 13, 2009 saying that the court lacks jurisdiction over the case.

Furthermore, the dismissal of the case was based on the workers’ Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss filed on August 19, 2009.  Its  main contention was “that the Rosario  Municipal Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the nature of the case the same having rose out of a labor dispute and there has been no certification from the Secretary of Labor that the same be given due course. “

This was based on the Ministry Circular No. 9, issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on May 22, 1985, pursuant to Ministry Circular No. 15 of the DOJ dated June 7, 1982. Ministry Circular No. 9 reads:


Pursuant to the President’s letter-directive dated June, 1982 as embodied under Ministry Circular No. 15, dated June 7, 1982, clearance must be sought from the Ministry of labor and/or the Office of the President before taking cognizance of complaints for preliminary investigation and the filing in court of the corresponding information of cases arising out of or related to a labor dispute.

In this connection, your attention is hereby invited to the “Guidelines on Picketing and Injunctions” dated August 16, 1984, issued by the Ministry of Labor and Employment, pursuant to Batas Pambansa Blg. 227, which provides as follows:

Criminal cases arising out of a labor dispute shall be disposed of in accordance with the letter of the President to the Minister of Justice dated June 1982 and the Ministry of Justice Circular No. 15. The injunction order issued in a labor case may be considered compliance with the clearance requirement prescribed by Circular No. 15 of the Ministry of Justice.

Pursuant to this Guideline, upon issuance of an injunctive order by the National Labor Relations Commission, you may proceed to act on criminal complaint arising out of a labor dispute and file the corresponding information with the proper court, if warranted by the evidence.

Please be guided accordingly

(SGD.) Renato  S. Puno
 Deputy Minister  

Aside from the Ministry Circular No. 15, the workers also argued that the direct assault filed against them lacks factual and legal basis to stand but was filed just to harass and intimidate the workers/strikers purposely to stop them from pursuing strike. The police and guards were not even able to identify the supposed specific perpetrators who allegedly assaulted the persons in authority and what particular form of assault was made.

Also, the workers have filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the case in the Prosecutor’s level on 23 March 2009.

The resolution of the said Motion was issued only on November 13, 2009 but was only received by the workers by post on October 6, 2010. The decision denied the Motion for Partial Reconsideration for lack of merit and was penned by Alexander Eric Leveriza, an associate prosecuting attorney.