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Call for justice for the victims of killings in Central Luzon

Appeal for Immediate Action

Dear friends,

Please join us in our call for justice for the farmers who were victims of killing and other human rights violations. The farmers are in haciendas owned by big landlords or in haciendas targeted for land conversion for real estate and other commercial purposes.

Arbitrary killing, frustrated killing, and harassment of farmers in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga

On 12 January 2014, around 3:00 to 3:30 am, Eduardo Tolentino, a resident and farmer of Purok 7, Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga went to his field to pick fruits and tend to his animals. Upon reaching an underpass that connects the village and farm lands through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Eduardo, with his neighbors, were accosted by Triple L security guards. Eduardo called for assistance. Ener, Eduardo’s brother, woke up his companions, including village guard Tanod Virgilio Padiño and residents Arman Padiño, Noel Tumali, Norma Ignacio and Josie de Jesus to go to the said underpass to talk to the security guards.

While negotiating with the guards, Ener’s father village captain Antonio Tolentino arrived. The guards immediately fired their guns. Arman Padiño was hit in the head and Noel Tumali at the back. Both were immediately brought to Songco Lapid District Hospital in Porac. At around 2:00 p.m., the following day, January 13, Padiño was pronounced dead.

During the gunfire, Bgy. Captain Tolentino grabbed security guard Larry Sabado who was about to shoot him. Luckily, the gun misfired. Sabado reloaded his gun and Tolentino again grabbed Sabado, who in turn, hit him on his head with the gun.

Sabado was eventually overpowered. The men tied him and brought to Tolentino’s house before he will be turned over to the authorities. Sabado was able to escape, but was later found hiding in another house nearby.  He later surrendered to the policemen who arrived at the village.

The next day, on 13 January, Brgy. Capt. Tolentino and his son Ener charged Larry Sabado with frustrated murder at the Prosecutor’s Office; only to learn that the they already face charges of slight physical injuries and three counts of grave threat filed by Triple L Company.

The two Tolentinos were arrested and detained at the Pampanga Provincial Police Office in San Fernando, Pampanga. They were released on bail.

Sabado, who was detained at a police precinct, was released on 15 January, and is undergoing preliminary investigation for charges of attempted murder filed by Capt. Tolentino.

The farmers of Hacienda Dolores face threats of eviction from the land they tilled for generations as the Leonardo Lachenal Leonio Holdings, Inc (LLL), FL Property Management Corporation (FL) and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) eye the vast tracts of lands.

Bulldozing of farm lands and displacement of farmers in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac City 

Since December 2013, the Cojuangco-owned Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) had bulldozed and fenced off the farm lands of more than 20 farmers in Brgy. Balete, Tarlac City.

The land is covered by land reform and is no longer private property of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan based on the notice served by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on December 2013.  The DAR’s resolution was reinforced by the local court’s dismissal, on 4 February 2014, of the unlawful detainer or ejectment charge filed by the Cojuangcos against the farmers.

On 8 February, security guards of TADECO began bulldozing the farms and farm huts in Brgy. Balete.

Rey Flores, 16, was accosted by the guards who saw him took video of the destruction of the farms. The guards held Flores at gunpoint. He was turned-over to the police. Flores was only released upon the assistance of Tarlac City Councilor Emily Ladera-Facunla and representatives of the Department of Social Work and Development.

In 2013, several peasant-leaders and rights defenders in Hacienda Luisita were illegally arrested and charged with “harassment suits.” The latest victim of these suits is Councilor Emily Ladera-Facunla who was charged by the Tadeco with trespassing and coercion. The charge was ssued by the Tarlac City Prosecutor’s Office without preliminary investigation.

Councilor Facunla is the sister of Abelardo Ladera, a victim of extrajudicial killing in March 3, 2006. Their parents were former sugar workers in Hacienda Luisita. Abelardo was also a city councilor at the time of his death.

Farmers of Brgy. Balete continue to protest the destruction of their lands and the Cojuangco’s blatant disregard of the ruling of the Supreme Court and DAR to distribute the land to the farmers.

UA Date: March 17, 2014

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

  1. Justice for the extrajudicial killing of Arman Padiño; and the frustrated extrajudicial killing of Antonio Tolentino and Noel Tumali.
  2. Stop the filing of fabricated charges and arbitrary arrests against rights defenders Antonio and Ener Tolentino, Rey Flores, Tarlac City councilor Emily Ladera-Facunla and farmer leaders at the Hacienda Luisita
  3. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into these incidents of human rights violations, and to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.
  4. The PH government and its state security forces to stop labelling and targeting human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
  5. The withdrawal of Oplan Bayanihan, the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program that victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians.
  6. The Philippine Government to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory to.

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: [email protected]

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
[email protected]

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura Street, Manila
Direct Line 521-1908
Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email:  [email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Hon.  Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Building, UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Floor Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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