Tag Archives: Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro

50 percent manual audit of election ballots pushed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-The left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately conduct at least 50 percent manual audit of all election ballots that will include the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to determine if there is truth to allegations that the elections was rigged in favor certain candidates in the recently concluded May 10 national and local elections.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the allegations regarding automated –led cheating to favor certain candidates were serious enough to merit at least 50 percent manual audit of election ballots of all clustered precints.

“The Comelec is constitutionally, lawfully, politically and morally obliged to perform a round-the-clock manual audit of elections ballots that went through the PCOS machines. The election returns which were printed by PCOS machines should not be used as basis for audit. The manual counting of election ballots remains the most effective means to check if there is really large-scale cheating in the May 10 political exercise,” added Hicap.

Hicap aside from ARMM, the 50 percent manual audit should cover and concentrate should include vote rich areas such as the National Capital Region, the Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions, the Northern Luzon provinces, the Bicol region, Western Visayas and Central Visayas region and all Mindanao regions to mention a few.

The Pamalakaya leader said Comelec can accomplish manual audit of at least 50 percent of election ballots in two weeks time and can come out with objective and honest-to-goodness findings by the second week of June, where there is enough time to reverse previous proclamations and declare the real winners in the May 10 polls.

“Chairman Jose Melo and his peers at Comelec have two weeks to perform manual audit of election ballots. This is the only way to check or validate and affirm the outcome of the first automated polls in the country,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official issued the proposal a day after a witness surfaced yesterday in a press conference called by losing presidential bets Nicanor Perlas, JC de los Reyes and Sen. Jamby Madrigal claiming massive automated election cheating were conducted in favor of President apparent Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III of Liberal Party and former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the leading vice-presidential candidate according to latest tallies.

The witness claimed the votes of administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino presidential candidate former President Joseph Estrada and Bangon Pilipinas Eddie Villanueva were shaved to benefit Aquino. The witness also said voted for vice-presidential candidates Loren Legarda and Bayani Fernando were also shaved in favor of former Mayor Binay.

The still identified witness who revealed the election irregularities through a video claimed Teodoro lost 5 million to 6 million votes, while Villanueva lost 2 million to 3 million votes. He said Estrada lost a lot but he did not provide a figure. The witness also said Legarda’s votes were shaved by 4 million to 5 million votes and these were transferred to Binay. With a report from Cupcake Mendoza

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9 presidentiables urged to cross party lines and unite vs. failure of elections

By Bb. Joyce Cabral, Billy Javier Reyes, Sarah Ann Go and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the nine presidential candidates led by Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, Gilbert Teodoro of Lakas-CMD, former President Joseph Estrada of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) Manuel Villar to cross party lines and forge a political unity to oppose an alleged plot leading to failure of elections to retain outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power.

The militant group issued the statement after President Arroyo called her top security officials yesterday to discuss security matters and possible social unrest arising from the May 10 elections. However, Malacanang said the no-election scenario was not discussed during the meeting.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said aside from the front runners in the May 10 presidential race, the rest of the candidates–independent candidates Jamby Madrigal, Nicanor Perlas and JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran, Bagumbayan presidential bet Richard Gordon and Bangon Pilipinas’ Bro. Eddie Villanueva should obliged themselves to join the mass movement against a possible plot to extend Arroyo’s term via failure of elections.

“All presidentiables should cross party lines and prepare for the grueling battle in the streets against any grand design that would lead to declaration of failure of elections by Comelec and serve the hold over presidency in silver platter to Mrs. Arroyo and her ruling political syndicate ,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the first automated election system in the country from the start was designed to fail in accordance with the game plan of Malacanang, adding that the series of “unfortunate and chaotic events” as far as the automated election processes were concerned were staged to convince the public of an Arroyo extended presidency beginning May 10.

Hicap said the presence of four battalions of armed government troops in the National Capital Region, excluding the 900 troops deployed in Manila, Makati, Pasay, Taguig and Caloocan was a clear sign that the Arroyo government is setting the stage for declaration of civilian-military junta with Mrs. Arroyo as its president.

“The National Capital Region is virtually transformed into a police state occupied and ruled by Arroyo and her loyal lieutenants in the AFP,” the Pamalakaya official noted.

Hicap asked the camps of Aquino, Villar, Estrada and Teodoro and the rest of the presidential candidates to immediately set aside partisan politics and focus their political energy against the grand design of Arroyo and the pro-GMA clique in the military to sabotage the polls and keep Mrs. Arroyo in power under civilian-military junta.

Hicap same the same political call applies to vice-presidential and senatorial candidates, congressional, governor and other candidates running in the May 10, 2010 elections.

Pamalakaya said all anti-Arroyo political parties and groups who will oppose the hold over presidency could agree to the formation of transition council that will include people’s organizations, anti-corruption watchdogs, human rights groups, anti-fraud electoral organizations and well respected institutions and individuals.

The fisherfolk group said the transition council can function as a transition government that will prepare the next honest, orderly, peaceful and clean elections in the next three to six months. “Why not explore this politically correct therefore politically viable option in the name of national interest?”, Pamalakaya said. #

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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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Only 3 presidential bets take up fishers’ issues—says group

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-

A boy presented a relief stub during Pamalakaya and Anakpawis' relief operations in Talim Island, Rizal

Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday said of the 9 presidential candidates, only three—Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar, independent candidate Sen. Jamby Madrigal and Lakas-Kampi merger party bet Gilberto Teodoro have taken up the issues raised by small fisherfolk.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Villar was more interested in providing production subsidies and relief to small fisherfolk hit by rising prices of petroleum products and seasonal disaster, Madrigal focused on the particular fight against the privatization and conversion of Manila Bay and offshore mining in the high seas, while Teodoro offered his help to fast track the cleanup of Manila Bay in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling and the pursuance of Philippine claim to the controversial Spratly Island.

“The rest of presidential wannabes have yet to issue any official policy statement how they would solve the multifaceted problems in Philippine fisheries, while the 3 presidential candidates need to concretize and be more comprehensive in addressing the sorry state of Filipino fisherfolk and the fisheries environment,” the Pamalakaya leader noted.

Hicap said his group wants to hear from Villar, Madrigal and Teodoro, while at the same time strongly encourages the rest of the presidential candidates—Liberal Party presidential bet Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, Partido ng Masang Pilipino standard bearer former President Joseph Estrada, independent bets Richard Gordon, Nicanor Perlas, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas Movement and JC de los Reyes of the Kapatiran party.

Salvador France, Pamalakaya national vice-chair for his part, his group will stage the 2nd staging of Pamalakaya Fisherfolk Academy (PFA) next month, a presidential forum which aims to gather all presidential and vice presidential candidates in the May 2010 polls.

The forum which was first organized in the May 2007 elections for senatorial candidates, will ask all presidential candidates their respective stand and views on the fisherfolk electoral agenda which will be presented in the half-day forum.

The Pamalakaya official said among the doable demands their group will present to presidential candidates is the immediate and unconditional halt on all reclamation and conversion projects in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay, an indefinite freeze to demolition plans of fishing and urban poor communities along Manila Bay, Laguna Lake and other foreshore land areas across-the-country, the immediate recall of all offshore mining projects in Central and Western Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan seas, Northern Luzon and Bicol regions.

France said, Pamalakaya will also ask the presidential and vice-presidential candidates their position on proposals to abrogate the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and the repeal of the Fisheries Code of 1998 and the approval of production subsidy law for fisheries that provide financial and material support to small fisherfolk to improve production and their standard of living.

Pamalakaya will also ask the commitment of presidential and vice presidential candidates that if they win, they will investigate highly questionable contracts and projects implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) including but not limited to the overpriced P 455 million ice making machine and the
P 7.14 billion agriculture funds which were missing according to the findings of the Commission on Audit dated December 2008.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Pamalakaya leader said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. France said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

“The projects were reportedly incomplete. So the next question is where are the unspent funds? Are they really missing? Were they diverted or juggled to other highly questionable projects? What happen to the farm-to-market road project? Did it become farm to pocket (of GMA allies) road project?” asked
France.

Pamalakaya also took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of
P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.

Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price. #

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Presidentiables asked: “How do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita?”

By Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- Arriving in Metro Manila for the 8th day of Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (National Journey of Toiling Masses for Land and Justice), organizers of the 10-day long march posed this question to all presidential candidates, except Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III: “How do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita.”

Lakbayan organizers Danilo Ramos, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and party list group Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente in a joint statement asked presidential candidates Sen. Manuel Villar (Nacionalista Party), Sen. Dick Gordon, Lakas-Kampi merger party bet Gilbert Teodoro, independent candidates JC de los Reyes and Nicanor Perlas and Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas to declare their position on Hacienda Luisita.

“Senator Aquino believes Hacienda Luisita is God’s gift to Cojuangco-Aquino clan, and therefore only God can take it back from them. So it is useless to ask this moral, legal and political question to him. It is obvious, Noynoy and the patriarchs and matriarchs of Cojuangco landed clan will not give up their immoral and unlawful claim on Luisita”, the Lakbayan leaders said in a joint statement.

KMP’s Ramos said the problems in Hacienda Luisita will not find a long lasting and just settlement under a Noynoy Aquino presidency, asserting that the 6,453-hectare sugar estate is the bread and butter and the source of economic and political power of the Cojuangco-Aquino for near century.

“So the 64-dollar question mark remains—how these presidentiables except Noynoy solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita?” the KMP leader reiterated.

KMP said Hacienda Luisita is only one of the more than 200 cases being handled by the group’s para-legal committee, adding that agrarian cases in different regions and provinces will also be carried by Lakbayan for concrete action and resolution including but not limited to cases of landgrabbing in Southern Tagalog orchestrated by landlord and developers identified with Ayala group of companies and the 3,100 hectare landgrabbing spree inside Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

Ramos said the Lakbayan will also bring up issues of landgrabbing and land reform reversals with the expansion of plantations and mining in Mindanao island which he said have displaced thousands of farmers and indigenous peasants, the problems of coconut farmers in Bicol region and the widespread cancellation of farmer land titles in Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay and Negros island.

The KMP leader said the biggest gainer among the landlords during the nine years of Arroyo administration is business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, who was able to control the P 130-billion coconut levy fund and enlarged landholdings from 3,000 hectares to 30,000 hectares in the span of 9 to 10 years.

Ramos said Danding has vast landholdings in Negros (3,000 hectares), Palawan, Tarlac, Caraga and Isabela provinces.
For her part, Clemente of Anakpawis party list announced that it will co-sponsor with KMP a presidential forum next month to present the farmers and the rural people’s agenda in the May 2010 elections.

The Anakpawis official said aside from Hacienda Luisita, the other highlight cases of agrarian problems to be discussed and debated during the forum will include controversial issues surrounding Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas, the land reform reversals engineered by Calabarzon program in Southern Tagalog and other land issues in Mindanao, Visayas, Bicol, Northern and Central Luzon.
As of press time, the South contingent composed of 1,500 farmers from Mindanao, Panay, Negros, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions led by the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) are still marching from San Pedro Laguna to Alabang in Muntinlupa City. They marchers are expected to arrive in Alabang by 10:00 a.m.

The 500-strong North contingent led by Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) will arrive in Monumento, Caloocan by 2: 00 pm, and will proceed to Our Lady of Grace past 3:00 pm, where they will hold a solidarity night and vigil. On January 22, organizers expect to mobilize 7,000 people for the long march from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to Mendiola.

The 10-kilometer march from DAR to Don Chino Roces bridge in Manila will be spearheaded by senatorial candidates Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Rep. Liza Maza (Gabriela), Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod, and leaders of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the urban poor group Kadamay, the militant driver’s group Piston and other sectoral groups affiliated with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL). With a report from Gerry Albert Corpuz

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Joma says Gibo, Noynoy big landlords

by Jayjay Jaiho and Trinity Biglang Awa

Manila, Philippines- Short of calling their rejection in the May 2010 polls, two major presidential candidates—the administration backed Gilbert Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi merger party and Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon (Noynoy) Aquino III belong to big land lord clans who vast haciendas in Tarlac, Pangasinan, Isabela, Negros, Caraga, Palawan and other parts of the country, according to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Prof. Jose Maria Sison.

Sison, the chief consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its peace negotiation with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and current chair of The Netherlands based -International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), said only progressive candidates who espouse genuine land reform deserve the support of the electorate in the May 2010 elections.

In his message to organizers of the 10-day Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan led by Anakpawis party list and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Sison said It is just to demand genuine land reform and the free distribution of land to the tillers as the solution to the land problem. “Land reform must be realized on the strength of the peasant movement and for the purpose of attaining the economic, social and political liberation of the peasant masses. It must not be limited to the confines of reactionary legislation,” he added.

The NDFP political consultant said the recently passed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) is essentially intended to dampen the peasant demand for land and preserve the feudal and semifeudal forms of exploitation.

“ As in previous bogus land reform programs, CARPer retains the same loopholes and tricks for the landlords to prevent or evade land reform. It is necessary to bring to national and international attention the local struggles for land and take up the most outstanding cases of land accumulation and landgrabbing at the expense of the peasants and the farm workers. The people want to know more about the land greed, rapacity and brutality of certain landlord families that dominate the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system,” he said.

Lakbayan organizer and KMP Secretary General Danilo Ramos said on Monday an advance group of farmers and supporters led by KMP, the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), Anakpawis party list and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) will present the electoral agenda for genuine land reform to the Philippine Senate which is set to resume today.

At the House of Representatives, Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano will deliver a privilege speech devoted to the agrarian and human rights issues carried by the 10-day Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan.

Ramos said a petition letter urging the Senate to investigate the specific cases of agrarian problems which include the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita own by the Cojuangco-Aquino clan in Tarlac, the 8,650-hectare Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas and the ongoing dispute on the 3,100 hectare agricultural land inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

The KMP leader said a presidential forum is being planned with presidential and vice-presidential candidates as main resource persons. Ramos said presidential and vice presidential wannabes excluding Teodoro and Aquino will be invited to the forum. KMP and Anakpawis will bring up the issue of Hacienda Luisita and other agrarian cases.

The North Wing contingent composed of marching farmers from Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora will arrive in Manila on January 20. The South wing group composed of peasant activists from Mindanao Island, Panay, Negros, Eastern and Central Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions will arrive in Metro Manila on the same day in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

The Lakbayan will stage a vigil at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on January 21 and will stage a 10-kilometer march to Don Chino Roces in commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

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Silence of newly installed defense chief on Maguindanao massacre, a puzzle, says leftwing group

By Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday said they were puzzled with the “irrevocable silence” displayed by newly installed defense secretary National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez on the Maguindanao massacre.

Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France made the inquiry an hour after Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera and Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuno made the inquest on principal suspect Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. who was flown from Sharif Aguak in Maguindanao to General Santos City early this morning.

“The national security adviser’s display of extreme silence on the mass murder of more than 57 civilians by the notorious Ampatuan warlord clan is something that should not be missed by the Filipino public. Perhaps he is planning something big in his mind and the declaration of the State of Emergency in Maguindanao is perhaps the beginning of any grand plan in favor of the present occupant in Malacanang,” the Pamalakaya official said in a press statement.

France said the proliferation of para-military groups and the arming of civilian volunteers for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism in Maguindanao and other parts of Mindanao were the programs jointly discussed and approved by the Office of the President, the National Security Council of where Secretary Gonzalez is an influential member and the erstwhile defense chief Gilbert Teodoro.

“It appears to us that the Maguindanao massacre orchestrated by the powerful Ampatuan clan had the official blessing if not tacit approval of the national security mafia in Malacanang to justify the possible declaration of national state of emergency or even Martial Law across the country. Palace think tanks believe the situation could be exploited to justify the martial rule not only in Maguindanao but also across the country in not so distant future,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The militant group asserted that aside from President Arroyo, Secretary Gonzalez and ex-defense chief Teodoro, previous defense secretaries and chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be made to explain why they allowed the proliferation of CAFGUs, armed Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) and private armies in Maguindanao and have them enlisted and functioned as military and security personnel and private armies of the powerful Ampatuan warlord clan in Maguindanao.

“Mrs. Arroyo and her company cannot escape responsibility for turning the Ampatuan clan into a political monster in Maguindanao in exchange for the Ampatuans political support for the administration in the 2004 and 2007 national elections,” said Pamalakaya. #

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