Fr. Jose Dizon, executive director of the Cavite-based Workers
Assistance Center (WAC), strongly believed that US labor lawyer Brian
Campbell was denied entry in the country because the government wants
to get even with him and with his Washington DC-based organization
International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) for spearheading a strong
justice campaigns in the USA for the slain Bishop Alberto Ramento of
the Philippine Independent Church, Nestle union president Diosdado
"Ka Fort" Fortuna, and other activists murdered in the Philippines.
"Supposedly that would be the second visit of Mr. Campbell in the
Philippines. There's no other reason for his deportation except his
strong advocacy for justice and human rights. The government wants to
get even with him because they want the truth to be buried with the
cadaver of Bishop Ramento forever" said Fr. Dizon.
It would be remembered that the cases of murder of Bishop Ramento,
WAC's chair of the board at the time of his death, and that of
former Yazaki-EMI union president Gerardo Cristobal who survived in
police ambushed in April 2006, and the violent dispersals of the
strikes at Chong Won Fashion Inc. and Phils Jeon Garments Inc. by the
Cavite Economic Zone authorities were the strong concerns raised in an
unprecedented joint- statement recently issued by seven US retail
giants to President Arroyo for her government to address and resolve
immediately. The government reacted negatively on that joint statement
when it landed in the newspapers coincided with the statement of the
Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines.
ILRF is one of the several organizations in the USA, Canada, and
Europe that was instrumental in convincing the seven US retail giants
to issue the said joint statement.
According to Fr. Dizon, the sudden deportation of Atty. Campbell has
further expose the increasing paranoia of Mrs. Arroyo's governance
among her critics abroad.
To be with the protesters at the 12th ASEAN Summit was not part of
Atty. Campbell's itinerary because he would leave the country early
morning of December 11. He is invited to attend the WAC and Cavite
workers's tribute for the slain Bishop Ramento on December 9, 2006
at St. Michael Institute in Bacoor, Cavite. His itinerary includes
attending the International Conference on Jobs and Justice in Cebu City
and several meetings with the workers of the struck Korean companies
Chong Won Fashion Inc. and Phils Jeon Garments Inc. at the Cavite
Export Processing Zone (CEPZ); meeting with other human rights and
lawyer's groups; and the family of the slain bishop on the 10th of
December, International Human Rights Day.
"Campbell is no terrorist nor a law fugitive in his country, but
rather a respected labor lawyer in his own field of human rights
advocacy. He should have been spared by our government from such kind
of harsh treatment," Fr. Dizon lamented.
Campbell's first visit in the Philippines was in April 30 to May 7.
2006 when he was sent by ILRF, upon the invitation of Center for Trade
Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), to join the International Labor
Solidarity Mission and Fact Finding Missions to investigate the truth
behind the political killings of labor leaders and trade union
repressions in the country.
He was barred from entering the country Wednesday evening at the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport (NAIA). He was detained and immediately
put by immigration officials on the next flight back to Hong Kong
without being told "the exact nature of [his] transgression." He
called up the WAC office at 10 p.m. upon his arrival at Hong Kong
airport and narrated that he was not even allowed by immigration
officials in the Philippines to make a phone call and was placed
"under guard awaiting expulsion from the Philippines."
"We will be seeing more of Campbell's case in the future, because
human rights advocates and political activists are not anymore free
today to roam the streets of the so-called Philippine democracy," Fr.