More than a hundred raps filed vs Cojuangco-Aquinos
Obscene opulence and immoral ownership of a vast hacienda by one politically-charmed family amid the widespread suffering of the thousands of their lowly servants and farmworkers. Corrupt and shameless police officers and government officials involved in criminal activities. Anomalous spending of public funds through the pork barrel and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Bribery and conspiracy. Violent assaults against unarmed civilians, women and children. Ruthless destruction of farmers’ crops. Burning of homes. A 10-year old massacre case and the chilling effect of subsequent unsolved killings.
Name a disturbing anomaly or atrocity in the country today that a true “Daang Matuwid” (Righteous Path) administration must investigate and clean up – and the most glaring example of this can most likely be found in the President’s erstwhile 6,453-hectare backyard, Hacienda Luisita.
Hacienda Binay and Hacienda Purisima pale in comparison with Hacienda Luisita – not only with regards the land area, but with the gravity and obscenity by which the first family commits scandalous crimes against the farmers and the public.
Nearly a hundred farmers coming from various barangays in the controversial sugar estate trooped to the Department of Justice (DOJ) today to file more than a hundred criminal complaints against the Cojuangco-Aquino family and their minions in the local police and office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for a series of violent assaults against supposed farmer-beneficiaries since the Aquino administration implemented sham land distribution in Luisita last year.
Complaints of attempted murder, arson, child abuse, physical injuries, illegal arrest and arbitrary detention, theft, robbery and malicious mischief were prepared and filed for Hacienda Luisita farmers led by AMBALA, by a team of lawyers from the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA), National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Public Interest Law Center (PILC) and the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE).
Among the respondents are the President’s close family members and top local police officials – Aquino’s uncle Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr, sister Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz and other board members of the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), known Aquino ally and “Kabarilan” Virginia Torres, Tarlac PNP Provincial Director Alex Sintin and former Tarlac City PNP Chief Bayani Razalan.
“The public must be made aware that the worst atrocities are being committed by no less than the Presidential family against hapless farmers despite – or as cruel retribution for – the Supreme Court ruling for total land distribution in Hacienda Luisita. They must be made to answer for those atrocities. ” said Atty. Jobert Pahilga of SENTRA.
In a dialogue held January this year, the DOJ, represented by Undersecretary Francisco Baraan promised Luisita farmers that the department will form a special panel to investigate cases in Hacienda Luisita. Bulldozing of crops, demolition of huts, mauling and illegal arrests were ordered by TADECO even when farmers were reeling from effects of Typhoon Santi and even during the Christmas season of 2013.
More assaults were unleashed by the Cojuangco-Aquino family, with another round of bulldozing of crops and burning of homes coinciding with President Aquino’s birthday last February 8, and the brutal mauling and attempted murder of farmers and leaders of the alliance AMBALA by Cojuangco-hired thugs using hammers and shovels last March. The DOJ has yet to act on any of the complaints forwarded by farmers. The panel promised by the DOJ was never created.
Two barangay captains and local personnel of the DAR were also named respondents in recent incidents of destruction of crops and property from July to August. Residents caught the incidents on video and posted these on Facebook and uploaded on youtube (http://youtu.be/UvkH32Deo2U) by Luisita Watch, a network of advocates supporting the land and justice campaign for Hacienda Luisita farmers.
“With the local courts in Tarlac City, harassment suits lodged by the Cojuangcos are piling up against us farmers. Meanwhile, we still wait in vain for the DOJ to act on our legitimate complaints,” said Florida Sibayan, AMBALA Chairperson. “We dare Aquino to investigate his relatives and his Kabarilans,” said Sibayan.
“We also dare the Senate, particularly Senators Antonio Trillanes, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Aquilino Pimentel III to conduct investigations on Hacienda Luisita, with the same level of intensity and passion shown in the investigation of the Vice-President’s family, for after all, no less than the President’s family is involved in the atrocities at Hacienda Luisita”, added Sibayan.
“With the inaction of concerned government agencies, we can only wait for the people’s verdict on this corrupt and insensitive Hacendero president,” said Sibayan, referring to Aquino’s ouster from office. Hacienda Luisita farmers and their supporters will launch a series of activities leading to the tenth year of the Hacienda Luisita massacre (HLMX) on November 16, 2014. ###