Corruption hampers speedy resolution of labor cases—groups

MANILA—Abuse of the legal process and corruption are among the major reasons why cases filed before the National Labor Relations Commission and other quasi-judicial bodies are slowly moving. This was the statement of the maritime labor center, International Seafarers’ Action Center (ISAC) inManila.

In a statement, Atty. Joseph T. Entero, secretary general of ISAC said that this problem is hounding the NLRC and other agencies, ever since.

“Some labor arbiters and commissioners [in the NLRC] are asking for some “grease” in order for the cases to move “swiftly”. Since the worker and his legal counsel want a speedy facilitation, litigation, and decision over their case, they give in [to corruption]. As I observe, this is systemic,” Entero said in a statement.

In the 13th Congress, Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. had filed Senate Resolution No. 231 asking the members of the Senate, particularly of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment and the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (also known as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee) to conduct an inquiry on the alleged involvement to corruption by some NRLC commissioners and officials.

In his resolution, the lawmaker said that “there is an urgent and long delayed need to look into these complaints to certain the truth and erase any doubts about the integrity of the NLRC.”

On the other hand, the NLRC says that it is now implementing some reforms in the agency in order to curb red tape, graft and corruption, and to ensure that the cases are speedily resolved.

In a statement published in the NLRC website, NLRC chief Gerardo C. Nograles said the NLRC is presently implementing the 22-Point Labor and Employment Agenda of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino, III that includes streamlined procedures, removal of red tape, restoration of integrity and fairness, and a much strengthened arbitration and adjudication system.

Lately, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), wherein the NLRC is affiliated, has established the National Tripartite Efficiency and Integrity Board (NTEIB), as part of the agency’s efforts to curb corruption in the NLRC as well as the Labor Department.

Labor Sec. Rosalinda D. Baldoz in a statement said, as anti-graft and corruption measure, the National Tripartite EIB serves as monitoring and oversight body over the DOLE EIBs, with authority to recommend review of systems and procedures in the DOLE and its attached agencies.

“It can recommend to the Secretary of Labor and Employment appropriate actions to address graft and corruption, clogged dockets, and delay in the dispensation of justice and execution of decisions/judgments, including compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 (R.A. 9845); Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees (R.A. 6713); Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. 3019); and other existing regulations,” she said.

Last July 22, Baldoz has sworn into office new set of officers that will manage the NTEIB. Among the officers elected are Atty. Alejandro Villaviza, Vice President of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines; Atty. Allan S. Montaño, National President of the Federation of Free Workers, (representing the labor sector); and Directors Amuerfina Reyes, Rebecca Chato and Atty. Leah Fortuna (secretariat). Not making it to the ceremony were Atty. Miguel Varela, Chairman, Employers’ Confederation of thePhilippines, and Atty. Rene Soriano, Honorary President, Employers Confederation of thePhilippines(representing the management sector).

The DOLE has also set up its own EIB, in pursuance with the Department Order No. 109, Series of 2011.

Baldoz said the EIBs are “component of administrative reforms being pursued by the DOLE under the 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda, the Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016, and the President’s 16-point Social Contract with the Filipino People.” (Noel Sales Barcelona, for