15 November 2013
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
Nine years after the Luisita massacre
PNoy still denies justice, land to tillers while overpaying kin
Aanhin pa ang lupaing hacienda kung pinatay ko na ang magsasaka?—With nine years after the Hacienda Luisita massacre, it appears that President Benigno Aquino, whose family owns the 6,435-hectare plantation, holds on to this variation of a Filipino saying.
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio noted that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan continues to deny justice from the martyrs of the Hacienda Luisita massacre even as it denies the land’s distribution to its tillers, its rightful owners, refusing them their source of income and even their lives.
Tinio said the farmers cannot exercise actual and effective ownership, citing reports of heavy presence of armed guards and military under the clan’s control, who gave eviction letters to hundreds of beneficiaries, and continue to cordon off areas long worked on by farmers, harass them, prevent them from planting rice and vegetables, and even occupy several huts.
This belies the recent proud announcement of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that it has completed the hacienda’s distribution in all 10 barangays covering the estate.
Tinio also cited the killing of Dennis dela Cruz, a member of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), who was found dead from blows to the head inside the group’s farm hut last November 3. Days prior to the murder, he was repeatedly threatened by TADECO guards to leave the hut.
“Wala pa ring hustisya para sa mga martir ng Luisita,” said Tinio. “Magsasampung taon na matapos patayin sila at dahasin ang kanilang mga pamilya at kasama ay di pa rin ginagawad ang lupang matagal nang dapat ay sa kanila.”
“Sa bawat araw na itinatanggi ang lupa sa mga manggagawang-bukid ay nagpapatuloy ang pagpatay ng angkan ng presidente sa mga tunay na may-ari ng asyenda.”
Tinio added that his administration further benefitted his clan when his DAR overpaid Hacienda Luisita Incorporated P167.47 million as interest, representing the value of matured Land Bank bonds from 1989 to 1999.
Tinio filed House Resolution 466 to probe the overpayment, saying it has no legal basis since compensation has no bond component if landowner is paid fully in cash, and is grossly disadvantageous to taxpayers.
Said the Resolution, “the overpayment by DAR further aggravates the injustice against the farmers who have been deprived of ownership of Hacienda Luisita lands for decades. They have been impoverished, exploited and oppressed while the Cojuangcos enjoyed the economic benefits accruing from their unlawful retention of ownership and control of Hacienda Luisita.”
The overpayment is another proof that public funds continue to enrich private entities under Aquino’s administration, said Tinio. “Ang pagbibigay niya sa kanyang angkan ng P167.47 milyon mula sa pera ng mamamayan ay walang pinagkaiba sa paghugot niya ng bilyones mula sa pondo ng serbisyo-publiko para sa kanyang DAP, o sa P10 bilyong PDAF scam ni Napoles at mga kakutsaba nito.”
Along with the free and immediate distribution of the hacienda, justice for Luisita’s martyrs demands that Aquino order a refund of the overpayment, Tinio added.
“Ang panawagan ng mamamayan ukol sa pork ay ang pagbabalik sa pampublikong kaban ng mga perang kinulimbat para sa pampribadong interes at panagutin ang mga nagpakasasa sa pera ng bayan. Hindi ligtas ang pangulo sa panawagang ito, lalo na sa usapin ng hasyenda ng kanyang pamilya.”
“Kung niya tutuparin ang mga panawagang ito karapat-dapat din sa kanya ang taguring ‘presidente ng mga asendero’ bukod sa ‘pork barrel king’.”
On November 16, 2004, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan, through the Tarlac police and military, riddled with bullets a picket protesting its retrenchment of 327 farm workers, including union officers, killing seven and injuring 121 others, 32 from gunshot wounds. ###