A journalists’ organization has expressed concern over the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer Remigio Saladero, Jr., who is also a columnist for the online newspaper Pinoy Weekly.
Saladero was arrested last Oct. 23 in his office in Antipolo City on multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges in his capacity, the Philippine National Police claims, as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA). He is now detained at the Calapan City Provincial Jail in Oriental Mindoro.
The Pinoy Weekly editors and staff have refuted the PNP’s claim, saying he could not have been writing his column Husgahan Natin and handling high-profile labor cases in Metro Manila while at the same time being in the hills as a member of an underground armed group.
“Although known more as a labor lawyer, Attorney Saladero is a defender of press freedom, having argued before courts against the Arroyo government’s implementation of the Presidential Proclamation No. 1017, which resulted in the raid of a national broadsheet, threats of closure of broadcast stations and arrest of journalists,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) noted in a statement sent to media. “He also lawyered for various labor unions in media organizations and defended the media workers’ right to organize.”
“NUJP appreciates Attorney Saladero’s contributions to the cause of press freedom and advancement of rights of media practitioners and workers,” the NUJP further stated.
The group expressed concern that Saladero’s arrest and detention may be linked to his work as a human rights lawyer and as a newspaper columnist critical of the government.
NUJP urged the Calapan City Regional Trial Court to speedily act on Saladero’s case. The group also called on the PNP in Calapan City to exercise restraint and to refrain from further violating Saladero’s rights. (Bulatlat.com)