Luke Espiritu is a lawyer, labor organizer and activist for human rights, climate justice and gender equality. He is the former national president, spokesperson and current labor organizer of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino as well as the former national president of the Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms Federation.
As a lawyer, Luke Espiritu specialized in public interest cases, including plunder cases against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, cases representing rebel soldiers charged with mutiny against the Arroyo Administration, a Supreme Court petition to protect freedom of speech as well as cases against former First Lady Imelda Marcos, wife to the late ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, involving her family’s ill-gotten wealth.
Luke Espiritu also handled cases to obtain a Writ of Kalikasan to stop the privatization of water resources in Indang, Cavite and represented clients from the labor and urban poor sectors free of charge. He also served as legal counsel and Board of Trustee member for the Freedom from Debt Coalition to oppose high electricity rates.
Luke Espiritu is running his first Senate race as a socialist and anti-capitalist candidate. He is campaigning on establishing a national minimum wage of at least P750 per day, the abolition of regional wage boards, using price control to curb rising prices, halting the collection of excise tax on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law and value-added tax and removal of the 12% value-added tax on fuel. He is also calling for the outright repeal of the TRAIN Law, expanded VAT and the oil deregulation law.
He also supports prohibiting contractualization or ending the endo system, ensuring a living wage for all workers, decriminalizing abortion, passing the SOGIE Equality Bill and a wealth tax, allowing same-sex marriage and repealing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. He opposes the death penalty, lowering the corporate income tax and adopting a federalist system of government.
“Bibitbitin ko ang pagkahubog ng aking buhay bilang labor leader. Dadalhin namin ni Ka Leody (de Guzman), ang isyu, interes ng manggagawa at mula sa punto de bista ng manggagawa ang isyu at interes ng buong bayan.”
RENECIO “LUKE” SANTOS ESPIRITU JR.
Full Name: Renecio Santos Espiritu, Jr.
Birthdate: October 18, 1974 (Age 49)
Birthplace: Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Residence: Plainview, Mandaluyong
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English, Bisaya
- Juris Doctor, Ateneo de Manila School of Law, 2002
- High School, Ateneo De Manila (1992)
- Grade School, La Salle Greenhills (1988); La Salle Bacolod (SY1981-82 up to SY1985-86)
- Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino:
- National president, 2018-2021
- Spokesperson, 2015-2018
- Labor organizer, 2014-present
- National president, Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms, 2015-2020
- Member, National Executive Council, Partido Lakas ng Masa, 2008-2013
- Board of Trustees member and legal counsel, Freedom from Debt Coalition, 2010-2013
- Private legal practitioner, 2008-present
- Chavez Miranda Aseoche Law Offices:
- Senior Associate, 2006-2008
- Associate, 2004-2006
- National President (2018-term ending 2021), official Spokesperson (2015-2018) and Labor Organizer (2014-present) of socialist labor center, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), composed of seventy-one (71) active unions in the industrial, service, and agricultural sectors; handles political campaigns and mass mobilizations on national and key international issues like contractualization, wage, high prices, taxation, national budget, health, housing, and social services, neo-liberal policies, social justice, and good governance, imperialism and general issues that concern the workers as a class; active in labor movement building.
- National President (2015-term ending 2020) of the Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (SUPER) Federation composed of twenty-six (26) active unions in the plastics, garments, food, trucking, and other industries; handles CBA planning, negotiation and implementation, labor relations and standards issues, education of union members, workers publication, tactics planning in local struggles, and union organizing, expansion, and consolidation.
- National Executive Council member (2008-2013) of the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM); its lecturer on the socialist alternative; spokesperson in public demonstrations; active in mass movement building.
- Board of Trustees member (2010-2013) of watchdog Freedom from Debt Coalition and legal counsel in its campaign against privatization of electricity.
- Private law practitioner (2008-present) and handled: (a) high publicity cases such as the frustrated murder of celebrity Janelle Manahan and the action for spousal support of Mary Jolly, actor Derek Ramsay’s wife; (b) public interest cases such as obtaining a Writ of Kalikasan (environmental protection) to enjoin the privatization of water resources in Indang, Cavite, and appearing as counsel for watchdog Freedom from Debt Coalition to oppose high electricity rates at the Energy Regulatory Commission; (c) pro bono cases for the labor and urban poor sectors.
- Senior Associate (2006-2008) and Associate (2004-2006) in Chavez Miranda Aseoche Law specializing in public interest cases versus former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (plunder cases involving malversation of OWWA funds and the fertilizer fund scam; Supreme Court petition to protect freedom of speech relative to the Hello Garci controversy); versus former First Lady Imelda Marcos (involving the Marcos ill-gotten wealth); for activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes (Manila Peninsula siege); for rebel soldiers charged with mutiny against the Arroyo administration.
- Bangkok Forum, International Center for Labor Solidarity (ICLS), Bangkok, Thailand, November 2019
- Annual Fight Inequality Week, Equality Trust, London, United Kingdom, January 2019
- General Assembly/ Anniversary, Maybank Union Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 2018
- Tokyo Forum, International Center for Labor Solidarity (ICLS), Tokyo, Japan, September 2017
- Seoul Forum, International Center for Labor Solidarity (ICLS), Seoul, Korea, September 2015
- Congress, Partai Rakyat Demokratik (PRD), Jakarta, Indonesia, March 2015
- Manila Forum, International Center for Labor Solidarity (ICLS), Manila, October 2014
- Asia-Pacific Meeting, World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), Port Dickinson, Malaysia, October 2013
- Socialist Conference, Parti Sosiaslis Malaysia (PSM), Kuala Lumpur, November 2012
Luke Espiritu began his legal career at the Chavez Miranda Aseoche Law Offices handling public interest cases such as the plunder cases against President Arroyo.
He then became a private law practitioner, successfully obtaining a Writ of Kalikasan to stop the privatization of water resources in Indang, Cavite and representing clients from the labor and urban poor sectors free of charge, among other high-profile cases.
He became legal counsel of the Freedom from Debt Coalition in its campaign against privatization of electricity and to oppose high electricity rates.
Espiritu was a member of Partido Lakas ng Masa’s national executive council from 2008 to 2013. He also lectured on the socialist alternative and labor rights, acted as spokesperson in public protests and demonstrations on key issues like contractualization, wage, high prices and taxation, and participated in the group’s mass movement building initiatives.
He joined and climbed the ranks of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, a socialist labor center, eventually becoming its national president.
Espiritu also became the president of the labor federation Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms. According to Laban ng Masa, a nationwide coalition of socialist and progressive organizations and individuals, Espiritu led collective action that secured full regularization for contractuals in APT Manufacturing, Fishta Seafood, and Herco Trading. He also helped organize 10 labor strikes between 2018 and 2019, during a surge in collective action among contractual workers.