by Bb. Joyce Cabral, Sarsi Pimentel and Trinity Biglang Awa
MANILA, Philippines- The left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday accused apparent President elect Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino of blatantly engaging in cheap publicity stunt over his plan to take oath before Tarlac barangay captain Edgardo Aguas, the head of Barangay Central at Hacienda Luisita where Aquino is a registered voter.
“This is image building and a cheap publicity stunt rolled into one,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement. “We have nothing against barangay captain Aguas. The issue here is Noynoy who is brazenly engaged in all-out propaganda escapade to impress the public that he is a down-to-earth and pro-poor person,” the fisherfolk leader stressed.
The Pamalakaya leader said Aquino’s plan to push the oath taking at Barangay Central in Hacienda Luisita will not erase the crimes of the Cojuangco-Aquino on the Filipino farmers, particularly the denial of land rights to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita and the brutal murder of 7 farm workers and injury of more than 100 others during the Nov.14, 2004 massacre.
“There is no such thing as forgive and forget. The bloody carnage in Hacienda Luisita and the more than half- a-century resistance of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan to give up their immoral and unlawful claim on the 6,453-hectate sugar estate will be forever etched in the minds and memories of the Luisita folk in particular and the more than 90 million Filipino public in particular,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya said Noynoy’s decision to take his oath in Hacienda Luisita is a symbolic way of saying that he and his family will not yield the sugar estate to 10,000 farmer worker beneficiaries, and that the controversial lands would remain untouched under his six-year term.
“Aquino’s insistence to have his oath taking ceremony before the barangay captain of Luisita Central is an open declaration of war to exploited sugar farm workers that as long as he is in power, the across-the-hacienda landlessness and exploitation of sugar workers will continue,” the group said.
Earlier, Pamalakaya announced there would be no honeymoon period with Noynoy, saying the first day of the Aquino administration will be met with challenges, demands and protests.
“There’s no honeymoon. Noynoy is dreaming of having a 100 day honeymoon with the people. The total political exposition of and opposition to Aquino and the newly installed ruling Mafia in Malacanang is the top order of the day,” the group said.
The statement of the Pamalakaya was contrary to the call of senatorial topnotchers Senators Ramon Revillar Jr. and Jinggoy EstradaJinggoy Estrada for the filipino people to unite and support the incoming Aquino presidency.
The group predicted Aquino will face an early political turbulence if his administration will not push for the prosecution of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and his men implicated in high crimes of corruption, extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and the still unclosed case of Hello Garci election fraud in 2004.
Pamalakaya pressed Aquino to push the Office of the Ombudsman to decide on plunder cases filed by various groups against Arroyo and his men before the ombudsman’s office. He said his group had a pending plunder case against Arroyo and former agriculture officials in connection with
P 728-million fertilizer fund scam and the P 130-billion coconut levy fund.
The group had also filed another plunder case against President Arroyo and agriculture secretary Arthur Yap in connection with the P 455-million ice making machine scam. Hicap said Arroyo and former environment secretary Michael Defensor were also facing administrative and criminal charges before the Ombudsman’s office for allowing offshore mining companies to destroy Tanon Strait separating the island provinces of Cebu and Negros and Cebu-Bohol Strait separating Cebu and Bohol island provinces.
Pamalakaya also warned Aquino of accommodating members of the Hyatt 10, all former members of the economic team of President Arroyo, whom Hicap said were responsible for the economic disaster the people experienced during the first five years of the Arroyo administration.
“This so-called team of economic managers connived with Arroyo in executing ill-advised economic policies that further impoverished millions of Filipinos. These charlatans and puppets of neo-liberal globalization should not be allowed to prescribe poisonous economic prescriptions to the more than 90 million populace,” added Pamalakaya.
A week before the May 10 elections, Pamalakaya issued a national political memorandum to all its 43 chapters nationwide to reject the presidential bid of Aquino, dismissing the 50-year old Liberal Party standard bearer as Arroyo trapped in a man’s body. #