In this November 11 photo posted on Defend Job Philippines' Facebook page, Regent Food Workers Union leaders meet with Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and Rep. Roman Romulo (Pasig City). Union supporters held an indignation rally outside Pasig City Hall.
Facebook/Defend Job Philippines
Pasig City court orders release of workers arrested at strike
Franco Luna ( - November 18, 2019 - 9:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — Pasic City Municipal Trial Court Branch 71 on Monday ordered the release nine of 23 Regent Foods Corp. workers and their supporters who were arrested on November 9 for complaints of grave coercion, resistance and disobedience and slight physical injury. 

"Considering that the accused [...] have been in detention since November 9, 2019 [and] pursuant to Section 5 of A.M. No. 12-11-2-SC and Section 16 Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, they are hereby immediately released from detention without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against them in the case," the order read. 

According to an account from Defend Jobs Philippines, "100 combined forces of goons, security guards, and Philippine National Police" violently apprehended the workers during the dispersal of their picketline in the RFC compound, leaving some of the union members injured. 

An earlier post from Defend Jobs Philippines said the officials of the Regent Foods Workers Union were protesting "physical and verbal abuses" and "contractualization schemes being implemented by their management."

Sec. 16 Rule 114 of the Rules of Court states:

When a person has been in custody for a period equal to or more than the possible maximum imprisonment prescribed for the offense charged, he shall be released immediately, without prejudice to the continuation of the trial or the proceedings on appeal. If the maximum penalty to which the accused may be sentenced is destierro, he shall be released after thirty (30) days of preventive imprisonment.

A person in custody for a period equal to or more than the minimum of the principal penalty prescribed for the offense charged, without application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law or any modifying circumstance, shall be released on a reduced bail or on his own recognizance, at the discretion of the court.

Similarly, as per Section 5 of A.M. No. 12-11-2-SC or Guidelines for Decongesting Holding Jails by Enforcing the Rights of Accused Persons to Bail and to Speedy Trial:

Sec. 5. Release after service of minimum imposable penalty. - The accused who has been detained for a period at least equal to the minimum of the penalty for the offense charged against him shall be ordered released, motu proprio or on motion and after notice and hearing, on his own recognizance without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him.

This comes a day after Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto called out the corporation on his Facebook page and urged management to drop the charges filed against the workers. 

"[T]he people they have sued have recently lost their main source of income and are now even torn away from their families," he said.

According to the court order, those ordered released are no longer required to post bail for their provisional liberty as earlier indicated. 

"These people are not criminals; they do not have the goal of hurting you. They are fighting for what they believe to be just," Sotto said Sunday.

"I will personally make sure that they are out on bail by Monday," he told 11 whom he said were still in detention when he met them the day before. 

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