By PAULO C. RIZAL
DAVAO City — Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao downplayed the graft complaint filed against Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, calling it a desperate move after the successful reinstallation of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the land area caught in tug of war between farmers and the Lapanday Foods Corporation.
Casilao said the LFC is “already isolated” and is “desperately looking for an ally” in Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales after it lost its claim in a 145 hectare land in San Isidro, Tagum City.
More than a hundred agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficaries Inc., were reinstated in the San Isidro farm area on May 18. Their reinstallation was supervised by Mariano who issued a Writ of Installation in favor of the farmers.
Casilao urged Carpio-Morales to not be swayed by the Lorenzos and instead side with the farmers.
“We urge the Ombudsman to uphold social justice, side with the farmers, stand against landlord oligarchs, and immediately dismiss the graft case filed by Lapanday against Ka Paeng,” Casilao said.
Casilao said the morality and justness of the farmers’ claim to the contested land in Tagum was supported by the the statements and measures enacted by both the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government in support of the Marbai farmers, who were not able to till their lands since 2010.
Casilao referred to House Resolution No. 684 filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, which called for a probe regarding the Lapanday-hired guards’ shooting of farmers on Dec.12, and the Court of Appeals’ rejection of the temporary restraining order filed by LFC against Mariano’s Cease and Desist Order.
The farmers re-entered their farms December last year, but were violently driven away by armed guards, injuring seven. On the same month, the lands were turned over to the farmers by Mariano himself, who executed a cease and desist order preventing LFC from driving the farmers away from their land.
However, despite Mariano’s order, the farmers were evicted again on New Year’s Eve. The farmers were supposed to be reinstated in April this year but the police refused to give assistance citing the lack of an operational plan and legal issues between the rulings of the Regional Trial Court and the DAR. (davaotoday.com)