Makati Prosecutor’s Office dismissed charges of Alarms and Scandal and Malicious Mischief filed by Alorica Teleservices Inc. (ATI) versus 12 individuals including leaders of the Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA) and the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) on grounds of insufficiency of evidence.
In a joint resolution signed by Makati City Senior Assistant Prosecutor, Kareen T. Tacorda-Evangelista, approved by Deputy City Prosecutor Josefa D. Laurente, the charge of Alarms and Scandal was dismissed citing that “the mere holding of a picket/rally is not among the Alarms and Scandal contemplated under the law.” The charge of Malicious Mischief was also dismissed for insufficiency of evidence as the persons who committed the spray painting were unidentified by the complainant and were not among the named respondents. The decision further cited that “the complainant’s allegation of conspiracy [by the respondents to commit malicious mischief] is based merely on conjecture.”
BIEN President Mylene Cabalona noted that the decision is a welcome development as these charges arose from an ongoing labor dispute between UEA and Alorica. “The picket protest conducted last September was simply an exercise of our right. The charges filed by ATI were meant to harass and undermine the fight of UEA and Alorica workers against union busting, unjust termination and unfair policies. The decision to dismiss these false charges vindicates our cause,” Cabalona averred.
The group added that it is not uncommon that companies file false charges against unionists to dissuade them from organizing. “Thus, this positive news should encourage us, particularly BPO workers, to persist in organizing unions despite the difficulties and setbacks. Only by coming together and reclaiming our right to unionize can we effectively combat unfair labor practices and policies which have proliferated in the BPO industry,” Cabalona said.
The UEA filed a Notice of Strike last September 7, 2018 on grounds of union busting. At the height of the negotiations, several protest actions were held and the Alorica management retaliated by filing false charges against UEA leaders and BIEN. To date, charges of online libel and grave slander filed by Alorica’s Human Resource Manager against UEA grievance officer, Alfredo Sobrino is still pending resolution.#