Various labor leaders and organizations expressed their great sadness over the demise of long-time peasant leader Jaime “Ka Jimmy” Tadeo.
The 1986 Constitutional Commission delegate had died from diabetes complications on March 26, two days before his 85th birthday.
“The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition expresses its deep sorrow over the passing of Ka Jimmy. He fought for the working men’s and women’s cause both on the streets, in prison, on the farms, and in the constitutional commission proceedings. Shortly after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, Tadeo was appointed to be part of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. He was the only peasant representative in said body,” Atty. Sonny Matula, Nagkaisa chairperson, said in a statement released to the media.W
Matula said Tadeo had “figured prominently in the demonstrations which led to the Mendiola bloody massacre in January 1987.”
The violent police dispersal of peasants, workers, and students during the first year of the administration of the late Pres. Corazon Aquino had left 13 dead.
“Tadeo was a key member of the Constitutional Commission that framed the 1987 Constitution, which carried strong social justice and human rights provisions, including argrarian reform and full protection of labor. He was one of the icons of street protests during the time of the Marcos dictatorship, and he continued to champion the cause of social justice throughout his life,” Nagkaisa said.
The peasant leader was arrested and taken to the maximum security National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa in 1990. This was allegedly due to his outspoken criticism of Corazon Aquino’s executive order on agrarian reform.
Other labor groups also expressed their grief, led by the Federation of Free Workers, Kapatiran ng Dalawang Gulong, National Federation of Labor, Partido Manggagawa, Public Services Independent Confederation, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, and United Filipino Service Workers.
“We mourn Ka Jimmy’s passing, especially at a time when attempts at changing the 1987 Constitution are being revived in Congress. Meanwhile, liberalization in agriculture is also in full swing, to the detriment of local farmers and Filipino consumers. It is sad to note that full liberalization, foreign ownership of land, privatization, flexibilization of labor, and term extension in politics are among the recycled agendas of those pushing for constitutional change,” the labor groups said.