Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 12:41:25
Subject: [asia-apec 495] FVR leaves Filipino peasants with farewell curse (fwd)
From: (PAN Asia Pacific)
Precedence: bulk



Date: 24 Jun 98

Persecution vs. peasants raises suspicion of FVR-Fil Estate sweetheart deal

Peasant Movement of the Philippines, press release, 23 June 1998

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines)
69 Maayusin St., UP Village,
Quezon City, Philippines

News release 23 June 1998
For immediate release

Dispute with Rene de Villa, Fil-Estate behind attack on peasants?

BATANGAS CITY—Hundreds of peasants and sympathizers from all over Batangas picketed the provincial jail in Barangay Alangilan yesterday to press for the immediate release their leaders arrested on trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms.

Members of the Samahan ng mga Magbubukid ng Batangas (SAMBAT) demanded the release of Crisostomo Baes, the group's vice-chairman, and his brother Francisco, chairman of the Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Barangay Kipot, San Juan Batangas.

Atty. Romeo Capulong of the Public Interest Law Center said a composite of police squads from Padre Garcia, Taysan, San Juan, Rosario (municipalities of Batangas province), Batangas City and the provincial PNP, led by San Juan police chief Fausto Manzanilla and backed up by 80 elements of the Regional Special Action Force (RSAF), rummaged through six houses during a dawn raid on 19 June and faked a yield of firearms from the house of the Baes brothers.

Occupants of the other houses stood by helplessly outside their houses as the raiding team aimed rifles at them and looted their houses. The handcuffed brothers, aged 40 and 50, were made to stand under the rain and was taunted by police with orders to run the gauntlet.

During detention at the Batangas provincial jail in this city, the pair's custodians banged together their heads together several times. Later, they were made to hold placards with the words Regular NPA members written on them.

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), to which SAMBAT is affliated, strongly denounced that the raid is part of the intensifying political repression under the US-Ramos regime on its remaining days in power and proof of Secretary Ernesto Garilao's lapdog devotion to landlords' interests.

KMP chairman Rafael Mariano said that SAMBAT's running battle to reclaim farmlands in San Juan from defeated presidentiable Renato de Villa and the defeats suffered by Fil-Estate in the hands of peasants in Hacienda Looc are driving the ruling elites in Batangas into desperate means to reverse their legal losses.

It will be recalled that a week before the May elections, a thousand Batangue=F1o peasants symbolically padlocked the Manila offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform to dramatize their anger over the agency's massive cancellation of land ownership awards in Hacienda Looc, Hacienda Roxas, Patugo, Lian, Rosario and San Juan, to name a few centers of agrarian disputes.

The arrests were timed with a public consultation hastily convened by the Environmental Management Bureau and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the same day. With the opposition engrossed in getting its leaders out of jail, the DENR is now laying the grounds for its turn to reverse the eventual suspension of the environmental compliance certificate issued to Fil-Estate and Manila Southcoast Development Corp. (MSDC).

KMP also noted that the arrests and public hearing were timed four days after Garilao issued a midnight order denying the Hacienda Looc peasants' three-month-old appeal contesting DAR's approval of MSDC/Fil-Estate's claim over Hacienda Looc. This is obviously Ramos' sweetheart deal with his golf buddies in Fil-Estate and MSDC.

The group said recent development are proving that peasants have to depend more on their militant and broader campaigns into the new administration of president Joseph Estrada to oppose the government's inutile CARP and landgrabbing sprees of big comprador landlords.