Force has been used to break up rallies and strikes, Labog said. The biggest examples of which are the massacre of striking Hacienda Luisita workers, which killed 12 strikers and two children and injured hundreds of workers in Tarlac in 2004. President Gloria Arroyo’s labor secretary at the time, Patricia Sto Tomas, had personally dispatched the soldiers and police with instructions to disperse the picket, as she had “assumed jurisdiction” of the case because “the national interest” was “clearly affected by the dispute.”
Despite incriminating accounts by many witnesses who saw police, soldiers and security guards firing into the picket line, not a single arrest has been made. The National Bureau of Investigation’s subsequent report also made no mention of the military’s role in the massacre even though an eyewitness—Francisco Lintag, a sheriff from the department of Labor and Employment—said he saw soldiers rushing toward the strikers and discharging their firearms. continue reading

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