NEGROS Occidental and the labor sector will have a new representative in the 16th Congress when it opens its second regular session on July 28.

Roland de la Cruz, who is from Murcia, Negros Occidental, will be the new representative of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) party-list, replacing Raymond Democrito Mendoza, according to TUCP spokesperson Raffy Mapalo on Sunday.

De la Cruz, 39, was the first nominee of TUCP party-list in the May 2013 elections that got about 380,000 votes, thus earning a seat in Congress.

He is the deputy general secretary of the 80,000-strong National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NACUSIP-TUCP). TUCP is the country’s largest labor group.

Mapalo said the Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld with finality former Sen. Ernesto Herrera’s assumption of the post of TUCP president, thus affirming the validity of all the acts that he performed as chief executive of the national labor center.

“Among Herrera’s actions which the CA effectively legitimated was the designation of de la Cruz as TUCP’s first party-list nominee in the 2013 congressional elections,” Mapalo said.

In a resolution promulgated June 16, 2014, Mapalo said the CA also declared as “void from the start” all acts performed by resigned TUCP president Democrito Mendoza Sr., including his act of designating his own son, Raymond, as the labor group’s first party-list nominee in the 2013 elections.

“We just received our copy of the CA resolution,” Mapalo said.

Mapalo recalled that after 38 years as TUCP president, the elder Mendoza, now 91, voluntarily resigned from his post on November 1, 2011.

“Mendoza’s resignation, conveyed in writing, was accepted by TUCP’s national executive board. Herrera, then general secretary, automatically succeeded Mendoza, based on TUCP’s Constitution and By-laws,” Mapalo said.

However, Mapalo said the elder Mendoza later recalled his resignation at the prodding of his son, thus setting off a dispute that the CA resolved in a ruling first promulgated on October 7, 2013.

In that verdict, the CA upheld Herrera as TUCP president, saying that the former two-term senator validly assumed the post of president when Mendoza effectively quit his post on his own accord.

“The new CA ruling merely affirmed its previous decision sustaining Herrera as TUCP president, and denied Mendoza’s motion for reconsideration,” Mapalo said.