Monthly Archives: April 2010

Poll bets ganging up Villar, but silent on Hacienda Luisita row

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Cherry de Belen and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines- A group of activist fishermen supportive of the cause of striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita lamented that many presidential candidates are busy attacking one of the front runners– Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate Manny Villar but scoreless and clueless on issues pertaining to the 6,453-hectare sugar estate owned by the family of Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon ” Noynoy” Aquino III.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged presidential candidates who usually attack the NP presidential bet to tackle and discuss their position this time on Hacienda Luisita including but not limited the demand for the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of the sugar plantation to 10,000 farmworker beneficiaries.

“Some presidential bets and their political sidekicks continue to attack Mr. Villar, but obviously silent on the issue of Hacienda Luisita. Are they afraid of Noynoy and the feudal aristocracy of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan? Do they believe farm workers have attained land and justice for their five decade more struggle inside the sugar estate of the Cojuangco-Aquino?” asked Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader noted national candidates like former President Joseph Estrada and his senatorial bet Juan Ponce Enrile of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and independent candidate Senator Jamby Madrigal are active in demolishing the presidential bid of Villar, but extremely silent on the issue of Luisita involving Sen.Aquino and his family.

“Since the election campaign started on Feb.9, Noynoy and his sisters, members of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan and their partners in crime in the civil society have been engaged in day-to-day distortion of truth about Hacienda Luisita. But critics of Villar never lift a finger to tell Noynoy and his camp to stop fooling the people and the general public and proceed with land distribution. And this political development is not only puzzling and mind boggling. It is extremely dangerous,” said Hicap.

“Why members of the anti-Villar syndicate are not taking up the issue of Hacienda Luisita and the massacre of 7 farm workers? That is really a major puzzle in election campaign. While the issues ranged against Villar could be valid or just mere black propaganda, still these are issues that should be addressed by the Villar camp. However, the anti-Villar crusaders still owe the public, the electorate and the Hacienda Luisita folks a honest-to-goodness explanation how they remain silent on Noynoy and Hacienda Luisita,” the Pamalakaya official said.

Before the weekend, militant farmer groups led by striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita staged a 30-vehicle caravan from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office in Quezon City to the Supreme Court in Manila to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it issued in 2006 before the May 10 presidential elections and allow the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and DAR to proceed with the distribution of 6,453-hectare sugar plantation to 10,000 farmer worker beneficiaries.

The caravan was led by Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and they delivered a two-page letter of appeal billed “Let the Promise of Land and Justice Reign in Hacienda Luisita” which asked SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno and 14 other justices to recall the TRO, revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and order DAR to immediately proceed with the distribution of Cojuangco-Aquino sugar plantation.

In their letter of appeal signed by Lito Bais, acting president of ULWU, Wilfredo Marbella of KMP and Joseph Canlas of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers said the Supreme Court has yet to act on the motion filed by their lawyers asking the high tribunal to immediately lift the TRO, revoke the SDO and compel DAR to proceed with the free distribution of Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The Luisita farmworkers asserted the TRO granted by the high court against the revocation of SDO was further used and abused by the Cojuangco-Aquino and the Luisita management to further exploit and oppress the farmworkers.

“Honorable Chief Justice, on the ground, cohorts and henchmen of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan are doing the dirty jobs for the feudal lords of Hacienda Luisita to fortify land control. The Cojuangco-Aquino corporation established the Luisita Estate Management (LEM) to supervise and administer the day-to-day affairs of the sugar estate. The LEM has also tolerated the terrorizing presence of government troops and Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) conducting round-the-clock surveillance and harassment of leaders and members of farmworkers’ groups,” the groups said.

Anakpawis party list said the LEM has been disposing hectares of lands to commercial banks like the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and other foreign commercial enterprises also had acquired hectares of the disputed sugar lands despite the TRO issued by the high court in 2006.

“The questionable entities sprouting like mushrooms inside Luisita have been constructing fences as if Luisita has been divided among them in the name of private property and their private security guards chasing away farmworkers who want to cultivate idle lands either for meager income or subsistence livelihood,” Anakpawis noted.

The 10,000 Hacienda Luisita farmworker beneficiaries believed the high tribunal is politically, constitutionally and morally obliged to correct a glaring fatal decision that justified the issuance of TRO on Stock Distribution Option, the effects of such judicial action further contributed to the long-running and intensifying campaign of injustice and landlessness in Hacienda Luisita.

“Honorable Chief Justice Puno and the 14 other members of the high tribunal, once again, we appeal to your sense of justice. Lift the TRO and allow PARC and DAR to proceed with the free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the 10,000 farmer beneficiaries,” they said. #

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Militants slam Noynoy for backing private armies

By Sarsi Pimentel and Cherry de Belen

MANILA, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) assailed on Monday Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III over his position favoring the retention and proliferation of paramilitary forces popularly known as CAFGUs (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units) and CVOs (Civilian Volunteer Organizations) to defend communities against communist rebels and Islamic militants.

Aquino, one of the frontrunners in the May 10 presidential election had told Kenneth Roth, executive director of the US-based human rights group Human Rights Watch that paramilitary groups are essential in the fight against the New People’s Army and other armed groups all over the country. The LP presidential standard bearer made the response when asked by Roth on how his administration would deal with private armies, which are established and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Roth said leading presidential candidates in the May 2010 polls like Aquino lack clear policies on how to solve human rights issues and problems arising from the use and spread of private armies all over the country.

The human rights watchdog was hopeful the next President understands that the issue of private armies is a huge problem and it is something to be tackled as matter of priority adding that it will propose a set of legislative and executive measures to the next administration on how to resolve human rights problems arising from proliferation of private armies.

“We are not surprise with the position taken by Senator Aquino in favor of paramilitary forces. The Cojuangco-Aquino family also formed and availed the services of private armies to keep Hacienda Luisita under feudal and brutal rule. If he wins the presidency in 2010, Noynoy and family will surely revive and strengthen their private armed group in the name of their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Citing the 2009 human rights report filed by Karapatan, Hicap said from January 2001 to December 2009, the Arroyo administration committed grave human rights violations, including but not limited to cases involving 1,188 victims of extrajudicial killings and 205 victims of enforced disappearances, majority of these victims are leftwing activists and critics of the Arroyo government.

Hicap said the CAFGUs and other paramilitary forces and private armies are the traditional partners in crimes of the AFP in terrorizing communities believed to be strongholds of the New People’s Army or under the political influence of militant organizations which the military alleged as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed group- the NPA and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

On January, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision to exempt the Civilian Active Auxiliaries (CAA) from the total gun ban triggered an outrage among human rights activists in the country.

Pamalakaya asserted the Comelec decision is extremely dangerous, politically incorrect and fatally flawed, asserting that these CAAs formerly known as Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) are commissioned as private armies and armed goons by warlord politicians to further their political interests.

The group said poll body’s decision puts a legal blanket to the killing spree and human rights violation activities of paramilitary units, which they perform in accordance with the cruel intention and sinister agenda of the sitting presidency in Malacanang, the pro-Arroyo military clique and their warlord allies.

Pamalakaya said the correct treatment of Comelec in dealing with CAFGUs is to officially disband these paramilitary groups due to their long-running violations of human rights. The group said the tragic lessons drawn from the Nov.23 Maguindanao massacre last year should have compelled poll officials to direct the AFP to permanently dismantle all existing CAFGUs and quit from hiring fresh recruits to avoid if not minimize election related violence.

Pamalakaya said the Maguindanao massacre should compel Aquino and other presidentiables to effectively drop this blueprint for terror and impunity rather than adopt a pro-paramilitary forces policy.

The Comelec said the CAAs are allowed to carry firearms because they are considered units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which are exempted from the nationwide gun ban imposed by the poll body during election period.

Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.

Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Manila’s agrarian reform chief asked to act on land disputes involving top 2010 bets

By Sugar Hicap, Bb. Joyce Cabral, Cherry de Belen and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-Striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita and affected farmers of the ambitious MRT-7 railway project in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan had coalesced to pressure Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman to stop the families of Liberal Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Senator Manuel Roxas from denying their rights to land and compel them to surrender their unlawful and immoral control over the disputed lands.

In a joint press statement, the Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and farmers groups affiliated with the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged secretary Pangandaman to act on their demands against the “Team Hacienderos” of Aquino and Roxas not later than the May 10, 2010 elections.

ULWU acting president Lito Bais said the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita are strongly suggesting to DAR to immediately cite the Cojuangco-Aquino family and the Luisita Estate Management (LEM) in contempt of court for violating the status quo order involving the 6,453 hectare sugar estate.

Bais, also the spokesperson of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan through LEM has been allowing different interest groups like the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) to put fences on 200 hectares of sugar lands, allegedly representing debts of the Cojuangco-Aquino family to the banking group.

“Noynoy recently announced that Hacienda Luisita will be distributed to farm workers in the next five years. But based on what his family is doing right now, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan is doing everything to keep control of the hacienda and later sell it to entities that would give them billions of pesos in profits,” the Hacienda Luisita leader added.

Status quo

The status quo order stemmed from the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court in 2005 after the management of Hacienda Luisita Inc. questioned the revocation of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to take over Luisita and have distributed to some 10,000 farmer worker beneficiaries.

The TRO which was applied by HLI management, however, effectively stopped the Cojuangco-Aquino family from pursuing other activities and corporate decisions pertaining to the sugar estate. Reports from ULWU revealed otherwise.

The farmworkers’ group said the Cojuangco-Aquino family has tolerated the terroristic activities of the military and the Army led Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) under the Northern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Nolcom) whom they said are engaged in covert and overt operations like day-to-day surveillance and harassment of leaders and active members of sugar worker groups inside Hacienda Luisita.

Troops loyal to Arroyo

“Troops loyal to President Arroyo are in Hacienda Luisita to protect the illegitimate claim of Noynoy and his family, and that alone confirms the ongoing unholy alliance between the Arroyos and the Cojuangco-Aquino feudal aristocracy,” Bais added.

Joining the Luisita workers in the camp out at DAR are 120 farmers from Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan are the KMP affiliates— the Tungkong Mangga Upland Farmers Association, Inc. (TMUFAI), San Isidro Sandigang Samahan ng Magsasaka (SASAMAG) and Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Sitio Dalandanan (SAMAGDA).

“We are urging Mar Roxas to convince his relatives to stop landgrabbing and harassment of farmers in Tungkong Mangga. He wants to be vice-president, he should start put aside the interests of his relatives and put the interests of poor farmers in front,” said Wilfredo Marbella, KMP Deputy Secretary-General.

Tungkong Mangga

“The lands in Tungkong Mangga are being claimed by Araneta Properties, Inc. (now led by Gregorio `Greggy’ Araneta, from the Salvador and Gregorio Araneta lineage), though farmers cultivated the lands for decades. Now, Mr. Palengke Mar Roxas, please help farmers against the harassment imposed by your relatives. The farms at Tungkong Mangga are the source of fruits, vegetables at nearby `palengkes,'” he said.

Tungkong Mangga, particularly Sitio San Isidro, Dalandanan and Ricafort is the site of the 200-hectare intermodal station of the MRT 7. Its main proponent is the Universal LRT Corp. led by Hongkong-based EL Holdings, also composing is the SM Development Corp. of mall-tycoon Henry Sy.

“The lands at Tungkong Mangga are not owned by the Aranetas as they have been foreclosed by Manila Banking Corp. during the Marcos’ dictatorship, who then, used it as collateral to acquire loans from the Central Bank. During the Aquino government, MBC was sequestered as it was owned by Marcos cronies and used ill-gotten wealth on its business. Generally, the lands were paid for the Aranetas by public funds, thus, should be subjected by land reform,” said Marbella.

In 1998, DAR has been preparing for the issuance of Cert. of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) to the farmers when the Aranetas have filed petition for exemption. Until now, it has not been processed and currently on the discretion of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC). The Gregorio Araneta Inc. and Araneta Properties, Inc. are now represented by Gregorio “Greggy” Araneta III as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the son-in-law of the late dictator Ferdinand MarcosFerdinand Marcos being married to Irene Marcos. They are also relatives of vice-presidential candidate Mar Roxas of the J. Amado Araneta lineage. Moreover, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is of the clan of Jesus Araneta Lacson de Arroyo of Negros.

“The Araneta Properties, Inc. is chaired by Benito Araneta, a former representative of the PCGG to PhilComSat but was fired by former pres. Estrada due to malversation of funds. He was investigated for plunder in the Senate and sen. Enrile presented proofs of his plunder in the gov’t corporation,” said Marbella.

“Mar Roxas’ relatives are cashing in the lands as SM Dev’t Corp and Universal LRT Corp. are planning another Araneta Center in Tungkong Mangga, composed of a train station, commercial and residential establishments and bus terminal. This is the first stop of our series of protest,” Marbella said. #

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Philippine president “orders” poll body to let favored bet run in May elections?

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Trinity Biglang Awa and Chocolate Moose Fernandez

MANILA, Philippines- The 28 national council leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday said the annoucement of President Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoGloria Macapagal-Arroyo declaring former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap a sure winner in the third district of Bohol is a marching order to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to junk Pamalakaya’s disqualification case filed against Yap.

“We were not born yesterday. President Arroyo’s political prophecy declaring Secretary Yap as congressman of third district of Bohol is a marching order from Malacanang to Comelec to kill the disqualification case against Yap,” said Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Ya is running unopposed in his wife’s home province but on March 9, Pamalakaya filed a disqualification case against him for lack of residency.

President Arroyo who was the guest speaker at the first anniversary of a housing project for squatters moved out of Pasig River and victims of typhoons in Marikina and Pasig cities said she was sure of Yap’s unopposed victory in the third district of Bohol.

“Even if he alone votes for himself, Arthur Yap will become congressman because he is unopposed,” said Ms Arroyo.“I asked Yap to sit with me because even if he was already a former government official and now in the private sector and will become congressman,” Arroyo said.

Last week, Pamalakaya asked the Comelec to immediately tackle the disqualification case against Secretary Yap, adding it was puzzled by the development that the poll body has yet to tackle the case against Yap.

The group likewise filed supplemental information to Comelec to beef up the disqualification case they filed against Sec. Yap. The supplemental information was signed by three officials of Barangay Buenavista, municipal of Loboc disproving Yap’s claim that he lives in the village and a resident of the far-flung barangay, which the former agriculture secretary claimed as his present address as shown in his certificate of candidacy.

The supplemental information carried the signatures of former Barangay Buenavista secretary Corbino Cuhit, incumbent barangay councilor Basilio Balog and resident Mateo Ratonel, brother of incumbent barangay councilor Boy Ratonel which said that Yap was never been a resident of the barangay and the controversial secretary just arrived in their village at the start of the election season.

The three said the house and the address referred by Sec. Yap as his official domicile in Buenavista, Loboc is a far-flung community which is not passable to any regular vehicle except single motorcycles due to rough road and mountainous curves.

In their 4-page disqualification case against Yap filed last March 9, Pamalakaya said the former agriculture secretary lacks qualification to run as congressman for the third district of Bohol because he is not a resident of province 3rd district. The group asserted the position for which Yap filed a certificate of candidacy requires that a candidate be a resident of the district (3rd District of Bohol) for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the May 10, 2010 elections.

Pamalakaya maintained Secretary Yap failed to meet the qualification because the former agriculture secretary still lives in Ortigas, Pasig City and there is no evidence or overt act that Yap abandoned his domicile of origin. The group said their case against Yap is similar to the recently concluded case decided by the poll body against actor Richard Gomez who was barred by Comelec from running in Leyte over the question of domicile.

“More than the issue of residency is the stockpile of graft charges filed by against Secretary Yap before the Office of the Ombudsman regarding irregular and highly questionable use of taxpayers’ money by the agriculture department. This disqualification case pertaining to lack of qualification to run on the basis of residency is just part of the whole process to unearth the truth on controversies surrounding this controversial cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” said Pamalakaya.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya filed plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against Yap in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines. Included in the charge sheet are President Arroyo and other officials of the National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor), an attached agency of DA. On top of the P 455 million ice making fund scam is the P 7.14 billion which the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its’ 2008 report was missing, diverted or bungled.

“We filed this case not to spoil the political ambition of Sec. Yap. We filed this case because we want truth and justice to prevail over the narrow interest of new breed of traditional and corrupt politician like Sec. Yap,” the fisherfolk alliance added.

Pamalakaya maintained Sec. Yap cannot even speak the language of Boholanos. The group also said the respondent and his family continue to stay in Metro Manila and that in the concept of domicile underelection laws is at Alexandra Residence in Pasig City.

“How can he live and reside in Bohol when Sec. Yap practices his profession and conducts his business in Metro Manila? He continues to be a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Makati Chapter and likewise holds office in Quezon City. He cannot even speak the language of Boholanos and the people of Central Visayas verbally and by heart. It is really impossible” the group said.

The militant group asserted that Sec. Yap is not domiciled in Barangay, Buenavista in Loboc, Bohol or anywhere within the 3rd legislative district of Bohol. It said the respondent does not have real, substantial and material ties to the locality as to qualify him a resident of the said legislative district, adding that Sec. Yap spends much more time in Metro Manila than in Bohol.

“His visits in Bohol are infrequent, short and transient,” said Pamalakaya. #

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Washington is eyeing Noynoy as new puppet to replace GMA, militants say

By Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila
and Jayjay Jaiho in Tarlac City

MANILA, Philippines -The 28 national council leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) currently here in Manila for their annual meeting on Tuesday concluded that White House officials who recently contacted Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy’ Aquino are eyeing the son of former President Corazon Aquino to replace President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as “future US puppet”.

“It appears to us that the administration of US President Barack Obama and the ruling national doctrine syndicate in Washington D.C are in favor of Senator Noynoy Aquino to take over the place to be vacated by outgoing President Arroyo. For White House officials, Noynoy is a willing puppet and submissive political slave compared to Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manuel Villar and 7 other presidential wannabes,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader theorized that Senator Aquino is highly acceptable to US economic and military decision makers and the American officials were convinced that Noynoy will continue to impose the anti-people economic pills like the 12 percent Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) as suggested by the presence of former economic managers of GMA in his camp.

Hicap also noted that the Washington sees no problem with Aquino as far as the implementation of brutal counter-insurgency campaign like Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 that resulted to the death of more than 900 political activists and enforced disappearances of more than 200 other activists critical of US interventionist policy in the Philippines.

“The US officials believed Noynoy will carry the same brand of puppetry, brutality and neo-liberal obsession of Arroyo and that makes him the most preferred political animal among the present line of presidential hopefuls in the May 2010 elections,” the Pamalakaya chair added.

Time Magazine

Aquino over the weekend revealed that the US has opened communication lines with his camp. He admitted his party mates had talked to some American officials, including former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny before she was recalled. The LP presidential bet said it was the US officials who initiated the meetings and he had the go-signal for his party mates.

Pamalakaya believed the latest edition of the US owned Time Magazine showing him as its cover boy for the month was part of the build up for the Aquino presidency. “It is Time Magazine and it is part of the mind conditioning and propaganda arm of Washington bigwigs who have sinister agenda and cruel intentions in the Philippines,” the group added.

Rejection becomes Noynoy

The 28 leaders of Pamalakaya today signed an organizational memorandum calling its 43 regional and provincial chapters all over the country to reject the presidential bid of Aquino. Describing Aquino as female version of Arroyo, they said the LP presidential bet is a ruthless person passing himself off as liberal politician and anti-graft crusader.

Pamalakaya stressed Sen. Aquino has a strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator. The fisherfolk group, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.

The militant group agreed with the observation raised by Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that if Aquino becomes the President, he and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will use state power to frustrate and suppress the rights of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita to keep the 6,453-hectare sugar estate under the continuing control of his family.

“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” the militant group said.

Long march

Meanwhile, some 500 farm workers of Hacienda Luisita yesterday kicked off their 5-day long march from Tarlac to Manila to demand the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 6,453 hectare sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

Dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) the long march will be spearheaded by Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Luisita (Ambala), Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list.

Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente said Luisita farmworkers will also demand the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to immediately ask the Supreme Court to cite the Luisita management in contempt of court following what she called established machinations of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita despite a standing order from the high court effectively stopping the management from pursuing any kind of development inside Luisita while the temporary restraining order is still in effect and the land dispute is still being resolved by the high tribunal.

Reports reaching Anakpawis headquarters in Quezon City said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan are allowing private groups to put fences inside the hacienda and were convincing the farm workers to stop planting rice and vegetables and resume sugar production. #

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Noynoy as cover of Time Magazine, no big deal—Luisita farmworkers

By Sarah Ann Ago and Bb. Joyce Cabral

MANILA, Philippines- While Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III is in cloud nine having been featured as cover of the latest edition of TIME Magazine, farm workers in the 6,453-hectare sugar estate Hacienda Luisita did not give premium to what they called an empty and cheap publicity stunt for the 50-year old presidential wannabe.

“Frankly speaking, this latest escapade of Noynoy appearing as poster boy or pin up boy of Time Magazine is no big deal as far as Hacienda Luisita farmworkers is concerned. All we want is Hacienda Luisita and justice to all victims of Hacienda Luisita massacre six years ago and not copies of Time Magazine. We don’t have the capacity to buy copies of Time Magazines and even if we have some money we would buy food instead of purchasing copies of Time Magazine and view the poker face of this feudal aristocrat. What we want is our land,” said Lito Bais, survivor of the 2004 massacre and acting president of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) an affiliate of Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).

The LP standard bearer on Sunday said he was touched by Time Magazine’s decision to put him on the cover of its April 26 issue, adding that the article written about him had challenged to improve the country’s impoverished situation and resolutely fight graft and corruption in the country.

Bais, however, suggested to editors and local correspondents of Time Magazine to cover the 5-day long march of 500 Hacienda Luisita farmworkers which will start from Hacienda Luisita to Manila so they could have a clear picture of Aquino presidency in case the son of former President Corazon Aquino wins the presidential derby on May 10, 2010. The march, which is the second long march for this year regarding Hacienda Luisita, will cover main thoroughfares of Tarlac, San Fernando and Bulacan provinces on their way to the National Capital Region (NCR).

“It is time for Time Magazine to go deeper about the checkered records of Noynoy and his family and their unholy alliance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that resulted to the full-blown denial of Hacienda Luisita to farm workers, the massacre of sugar workers and the injury of hundreds of their colleagues and supporters,” Bais stressed.

The activity dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) will be co-organized by Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), UMA, Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Amihan peasant women federation, Anakpawis party list and the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

Meanwhile, the 28 national council leaders of the 100,000 strong Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance today signed a political manifesto calling for the rejection of Aquino presidential bid in May 2010 polls.

“For us Senator Aquino is the female version of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is a ruthless person passing himself off as a liberal politician and anti-graft crusader. He is anti-GMA reactionary but just the same he and his cabal of own gangsters are certified opportunists,” the group’s manifesto said. .

“Mr. Aquino has this very, very strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator among the 9 presidential wannabes seeking the highest elective post in the country today,” Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said.

Pamalakaya, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.

“There will be not let up. We will squarely face this ambitious presidential animal and Rated -A opportunist politician even if he becomes the next President. There would be no political honeymoon and every day would be a day of exposition and opposition because Noynoy is Mrs. Arroyo trapped in a man’s body,” the militant group said.

“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” Pamalakaya said.

Pamalakaya noticed the people in Noynoy’s camp were the same people who worked with her mother the late President Corazon Aquino at the time the Aquino administration was setting the stage to place Hacienda Luisita under the controversial Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

“If our memory serves us right, Franklin Drilon was Aquino’s justice secretary and one time her labor secretary, and Mr. Butch Abad was her mother’s agrarian reform secretary. They were instrumental in keeping Hacienda Luisita in the “divine hands” of the Aquino feudal aristocracy. Now the same guys are with him and they are all in one party. Coincidence? We don’t think so and we believe they are really up for something big and extremely cruel,” the militant group said.

Drilon is seeking to comeback in the Senate as one of the candidates of LP, while Abad is part of the campaign machinery of LP standard bearer. Pamalakaya said those working and associated with Noynoy are the same people who flirted with and enjoyed juicy government positions during the first three to four years of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Majority of those in the Noynoy camp played beautiful music and even performed their roles to the hilt as cabinet members cum apologists of Mrs. Arroyo until they realized that their respective political careers and interests would go to disaster if they remain with the gangster group in Malacanang. They are all opportunists and their basis of unity is not to pursue politics of change but to share power among themselves in case Arroyo is bolted out from power,” the fishers’ alliance added.#

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Time mag’s poster boy assailed for pol accommodation

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Sarah Ann Go

MANILA, Philippines-Time Magazine latest cover Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino, the presidential candidate of Liberal Party (LP) in the May 10, 2010 Philippine elections is accused by a left-leaning fisherfolk alliance of buying one of his opponents to withdraw from the presidential race in exchange for a government position.

Rabid critics of Liberal Party (LP)standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III on Saturday accused Noynoy’s camp of directly engaging in pre-election political accommodation and bribery following LP’s offer to administration bet Gilbert Teodoro to back out from the presidential race and support Aquino’s bid in exchange for a Cabinet post.

“This is political arrogance, political accommodation and political bribery rolled into one. Is this the kind of presidency Mr.Aquino has to offer to 92 million Filipinos? God of history please save this country from Noynoy,” the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

“The Time Magazine latest pin up boy for April 26, 2010 is dangling positions and huicy posts to his rivals in exchange for their withdrawals in the hotly contested race. This one really shocked the world, not the transfer of aging or has-been stalwarts to his camp,” the highly vocal Pamalakaya added.

Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, the chair of the League of Provinces of the Philippines who joined the Aquino camp weeks ago, had made the offer while appearing at the ANC “Strictly Politics” TV program on Tuesday night.

But LP vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Manuel Roxas, denied that the party had offered Teodoro a Cabinet post in an Aquino presidency. “I have had no discussions with Secretary Teodoro whom I respect. But we have not made any offer to him because we do not want to be presumptuous. Our priority is to ensure the victory of Noynoy as president,” Roxas said.

According to news reports, LP leaders have made the offer to Teodoro after two of the ruling coalition’s big guns, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales III, crossed to their camp. But Teodoro’s spokesman Atty. Mike Toledo downplayed the said offer to Teodoro.

“Only in their dreams,” said Toledo, adding that with the presidential campaign having degenerated into “taunting and disinformation,” the 45-year-old Teodoro is more convinced than ever that Filipinos deserved better.

“He’s convinced that Filipinos deserve a new brand of politics, a principled and issue-driven politics, and that can only be achieved under a Teodoro administration,” he said.

“Noynoy, Mar and the rest of the Aquino-Roxas camp are all in the state of denial. Their spin doctors are doing the dirty the jobs at the grass roots level both aboveboard and clandestine, while the camp’s principals and other supporting players are performing the laundry jobs just in case these dirty operations take a major boomerang on the Aquino-Roxas mafia,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The 28 national council leaders of the 80,000 strong fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) are set to sign an organizational memorandum calling its 43 regional and provincial chapters all over the country to reject the presidential bid of Aquino.

“For us Senator Aquino is the female version of President Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoGloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is a ruthless person passing himself off as a liberal politician and anti-graft crusader. He is anti-GMA reactionary but just the same he and his cabal of own gangsters are certified opportunists,” the group added.

“Mr. Aquino has this very, very strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator among the 9 presidential wannabes seeking the highest elective post in the country today,” said Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France in a separate statement.

The fisherfolk alliance is set to conduct its’ yearly national council meeting on April 19-20 in Quezon City. Pamalakaya, the biggest fisherfolk organization in the country will formalize its endorsement of Anakpawis party list and Makabayan senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza –former party list representatives of Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women’s Party respectively now running as official candidates of Nacionalista Party (NP) and Makabayan coalition.

Pamalakaya, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.

“There will be not let up. We will squarely face this ambitious presidential animal and Rated -A opportunist politician even if he becomes the next President. There would be no political honeymoon and every day would be a day of exposition and opposition because Noynoy is Mrs. Arroyo trapped in a man’s body,” the militant group said.

Pamalakaya agreed with the observation raised by Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that if Aquino becomes the President, he and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will use state power to frustrate and suppress the rights of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita to keep the 6,453-hectare sugar estate under the continuing control of his family.

“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” the militant group said.

Pamalakaya noticed the people in Noynoy’s camp were the same people who worked with her mother the late President Corazon AquinoCorazon Aquino at the time the Aquino administration was setting the stage to place Hacienda Luisita under the controversial Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

“If our memory serves us right, Franklin Drilon was Aquino’s justice secretary and one time her labor secretary, and Mr. Butch Abad was her mother’s agrarian reform secretary. They were instrumental in keeping Hacienda Luisita in the divine hands of the Arroyo feudal aristocracy. Now the same guys are with him and they are all in one party. Coincidence? We don’t think so and we believe they are really up for something big and extremely cruel,” the militant group said.

Drilon is seeking to comeback in the Senate as one of the candidates of LP, while Abad is part of the campaign machinery of LP standard bearer. Pamalakaya said those working and associated with Noynoy are the same people who flirted with and enjoyed juicy government positions during the first three to four years of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Majority of those in the Noynoy camp played beautiful music and even performed their roles to the hilt as cabinet members cum apologists of Mrs. Arroyo until they realized that their respective political careers and interests would go to disaster if they remain with the gangster group in Malacanang. They are all a bunch of opportunists and their basis of unity is not to pursue politics of change but to share power among themselves in case Arroyo is bolted out from power,” the fishers’ alliance added.

Meanwhile, some 500 farm workers of Hacienda Luisita will stage a 5-day long march from Tarlac to Manila on April 19-23 to demand the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 6,453 hectare sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

Dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) the long march will be spearheaded by Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Luisita (Ambala), Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list.

Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente said Luisita farmworkers will also demand the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to immediately ask the Supreme Court to cite the Luisita management in contempt of court following what she called established machinations of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita despite a standing order from the high court effectively stopping the management from pursuing any kind of development inside Luisita while the temporary restraining order is still in effect and the land dispute is still being resolved by the high tribunal.

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