Former Sen. Ernesto Herrera is the “rightful president” of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the Court of Appeals has ruled.
In a 32-page decision penned by Seventh Division Associate Justice Noel Tiajam and handed down on October 7, the Court said Herrera will remain as the union’s president until it elects a new set of leaders.
The fight for the TUCP presidency arose when Democrito Medoza, the group’s president for 32 years, submitted his resignation to the union’s Executive Board in November 2011. He later tried to withdraw his resignation, but by that time Herrera, who was then TUCP’s general secretary, had taken over his post.
Section 9 of the TUCP constitution says that “in the event of vacancy in the office of the president by reason of death, permanent disability, resignation, or removal from office, the general secretary shall succeed the latter and shall serve for the unexpired term.”
On January 25, 2012, Mendoza and his allies reportedly took over the TUCP building, shutting out legitimate TUCP officials and staff.
But another report said Mendoza was allowed by the union’s General Council to stay on as president.
On July 5, the Department of Labor and Employment, in a resolution signed by Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, upheld Mendoza’s claim to the TUCP presidency.
The appellate court however ruled that Herrera “validly assumed office upon Mendoza’s resignation.”
“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,” it added.
The Court voided all of Mendoza’s actions after his resignation, and prohibited Mendoza and his representatives or agents from interfering with Herrera.
Herrera welcomed the CA’s decision. “We have always been confident that we will get justice from the Court because we abided by the laws of the land and TUCP’s own union constitution and bylaws,” he said in a statement.
Even the Court issued a decision, TUCP’s parent organizations—International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Asia Pacific based in Singapore and ITUC in Brussels—had recognized Herrera as TUCP president. The American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the Union Network International—Asia Pacific and the Danish Trade Union Council also backed Herrera.
The TUCP has over a million members nationwide. It represents workers in 17 regional wage boards, except in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Twelve of the 20 labor representatives in the National Tripartite Industrial Peace council are leaders of TUCP affiliate federations.