TAYTAY RIZAL – Renato Ojascastro, a worker of Glomar Herbal Philippines Corporation (GHPC), was detained from February 24 to 27 on charges of estafa filed by company owner Maribel Nepucpan months after Ojascastro and two other workers filed labor raps against the company for illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages and other violations of labor standards.
Ojascastro narrated that five policemen in civilian clothes arrested him at around 8:30 pm on February 24, Friday, in a house in front of the GHPC gate. Based on the warrant of arrest, Ojascastro was charged with estafa worth P3500 (US$82) at the Municipal Trial Court of Taytay for the alleged loss of a cutting machine worth P3500 back in April 2011. He firmly denied the allegation saying it is impossible to sneak out such a huge machine without getting noticed.
On February 27, Ojascastro was temporarily freed after posting bail.
Ojascastro said that the criminal charge is a retaliatory move of the management since he and two other workers filed complaints at the NLRC for illegal dismissal and the company’s gross violation of labor standards. “They made up charges against me because I was first to openly express discontent over their management,” Ojascastro explained.
On September 29, 2011, Ojascastro together with Leopoldo Cortez Jr. and Roy Nepomuceno filed complaints against GHPC at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Rizal Provincial Office through the SENA (Single Entry Approach). They complained of illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages, non-payment of 13th month pay, service incentive leaves and other labor standard amounting to approximately P525,000 (US$12,353). Their complaint is now raised to the National Labor Relations Commission-Region IV-A after SENA failed to resolve the cases.
Exactly 18 days after the filing of labor charges, Nepucpan filed the estafa case against Ojascastro at the Prosecutor’s Office. It was then forwarded to the Taytay Municipal Trial Court on December 27.
More violations, more harassment
More violations of workers’ rights committed by Glomar management were revealed following the arrest. Reportedly, the company does not pay their workers the mandated social security benefits such as SSS, PhilHealth, and PAG-IBIG.
Meanwhile, other workers also experienced harassment from the management. The other complainant, Leopoldo Cortez Jr., was accused of not paying borrowed money while other workers who are believed to sympathize with Ojascastro were treated with discrimination.
Robina Urbano, also a worker of Glomar complained of delayed wages and reduced workdays since October while the management continuously hired piece-rate workers.
Also, some 40 workers of Glomar were constructively dismissed as they were gradually not given working assignments by the management.
In response, the workers have resolved to form a union. They recently, established the Pinag-isang Lakas ng Manggagawa sa Glomar Herbal Philippines Corp. (PIGLAS-GHPC) to uphold their rights and protect their livelihood.
–Glomar Herbal Philippines Corp. is a toll manufacturer of various health and beauty products. Some of the brands that they produce are Jimms 7-in-1 Coffee drink, Café Puro, Carnitine Plus, Natural Blend, Power Choco, UNO-branded food supplements, and more. It is located at 107 Espiritu St., San Isidro, Taytay, Rizal. The company employs 70-80 workers and is owned by Stephen Espino and Maribel Nepucpan.###