MANILA — Laban ng Masa is proud to endorse labor leader Luke Espiritu, candidate for senator in the 2022 National Elections.
Espiritu, current president of socialist labor center Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), is running for senator under Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), the political party of Laban ng Masa presidential and vice presidential bets Leody "Ka Leody" de Guzman and Walden Bello.
Welcoming Espiritu’s endorsement, de Guzman said, “Ikinagagalak ko ang pagkilala na binigay ng LNM kay Ka Luke. Dadalhin niya sa Senado ang tapang at tibay na ipinakita niya bilang batikang lider manggagawa at abogado.”
Bello, chairperson of Laban ng Masa, also welcomed Espiritu, saying that “Luke’s candidacy is a breath of fresh air in an election season that has so far been dominated by stale ideas and unprincipled compromises. We need a fighter like him in the Senate.”
Espiritu used to be president of national labor federation Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (SUPER).
“I am honored to be endorsed by Laban ng Masa and I commit myself to our shared struggle for the rights and welfare of ordinary Filipinos,” Espiritu said about the endorsement.
“Ang laban ng manggagawa ay laban ng lahat, at panahon nang dalhin ang laban na ito sa Senado,” Espiritu added. “Wawakasan natin ang kontraktwalisasyon, na ngayon ay may anyong trilateral work arrangements sa pamamagitan ng manpower agencies. Walang ginawa ang sistemang ito kundi magpahirap sa milyon-milyong kontraktwal na manggagawang Pilipino. Itigil na natin ang pambubusabos na ito.”
Espiritu is a tireless workers’ advocate and a firebrand lawyer who chose to join the labor movement instead of pursuing a well-paid legal career following his education at the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law.
As the president of SUPER, Espiritu led collective action that secured full regularization for contractuals in APT Manufacturing, Fishta Seafood, and Herco Trading. In the same role, he helped organize 10 labor strikes between 2018-2019, during a surge in collective action among contractual workers. Most of these labor strikes led to significant victories for the workers.
Espiritu’s devotion to the working class is not just limited to massive mobilizations. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he has continued to help workers and their communities, regularly sitting down for meetings even for the concerns of only a handful of aggrieved workers.
Espiritu has also helped and mobilized for other causes, from national political struggles to campus-based movements. As a young lawyer in the 2000s, he helped in petitions holding the government accountable for abuse and corruption, such as in the landmark Chavez vs. Gonzales case concerning Gloria Arroyo’s attempt to have the “Hello Garci” tapes censored.
Honoring his Bacolod roots, he also embraced the Negrense people’s struggle for justice. He helped organize the relatives of the victims of the extrajudicial killings in Escalante, Negros Occidental in the 2000s.
As the lawyer of the Save Waters in Indang Movement, Espiritu secured a landmark legal victory in the very first permanent Writ of Kalikasan issued by the Court of Appeals. This victory came as he helped organize the citizens of Indang, Cavite against the bulk water facility of PTK H2O, which was designed to supply water to high-rise condominiums in Tagaytay.
As an ally of the student movement, Espiritu helped organize the students of Cavite State University-Silang in their struggle for academic freedom. As their lawyer, they beat back a libel case filed by the school administration against students, and even succeeded in ousting the campus dean.
Owing to his long experience in the labor movement, Espiritu has served as resource speaker in international labor conferences in Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, etc. This aligns with his belief as a socialist that the struggle of the working class is international.
Attesting to his expertise on Philippine labor, Espiritu’s analysis of the system of trilateral employment of labor contractualization in the country was published in an academic journal in Germany in March 2019. Espiritu also spoke at the Speaking to Power Festival in London, UK in January 2019, to discuss the pro-capitalist scheme of Private-Public Partnerships pursued by the Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte regimes.
Espiritu lives in Plainview, Mandaluyong with his family, where he maintains a simple lifestyle as a car-less commuter, befitting a dedicated and indefatigable labor leader.
PLM and BMP are members of Laban ng Masa, a nation-wide coalition of socialist and progressive organizations and individuals. Laban ng Masa vows in their 2022 election platform to cooperate with the International Criminal Court on the ongoing investigation against the Duterte administration, as well as to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
Leomar Doctolero, Spokesperson (+63) 917 594 1229