“We demand the immediate release of Antonio and Ener Tolentino, condemn this cover-up of putting the blame of Padiño’s death and hold LHI, FL PMC and Ayala Land responsible for this brutality,” Mario Franco said, Amc chairperson and a leader of ANMHD.
In performing his duty, Tolentino and with some barangay tanod encountered a certain Larry Sabado, a security guard of LHI and FL PMC. Sabado attempted to shoot Tolentino with a 45-caliber pistol but fortunately jammed but attempted to replace the magazine, thus, Tolentino struggled to stop him. Intending to resist arrest, Sabado slammed his gun onto Tolentino’s left forehead, wounding him. This triggered Sabado’s arrest by barangay officials, but were able to escape. Farmers learned that Sabado was assisted by the local police and brought to the hospital.
“It is clear that LHI and FL PMC’s security force and goons enjoy the backing of the police. Amidst, the ruthless murder of a farmer, the perpetrators were aided and tolerated,” Franco said.T
Tolentino and his son Ener went to the prosecutor’s office the next day, January 13, to file charges against the security force of LHI and FL PMC but were outraged upon learning of the charges against them. ANMHD and Amc lamented that the local government and agencies abandoned them and are acting in favor of LHI, FL PMC and Ayala Land. The groups learned that Larry Sabado was released by the prosecutor’s office.
“We denounce this unfair investigation, persecuting the poor Hacienda Dolores farmers. It is an outrage that those who helped the victim were the ones arrested. A big conspiracy is operating now to cover up this brutality,” Franco added.
At present, Hacienda Dolores is under agrarian dispute when LHI and FL PMC commenced with their fencing of the lands that were cultivated by local farmers. Since early last year, farmers were not able to harvest their crops, thus, bringing them to worsened poverty. They have also become usual targets of harassment and mass arrests, grenade throwing, arson by flaming arrows, attempted murder by motor-cycle riding men. The people of Hacienda Dolores are subjected to terror perpetrated by LHI and FL PMC, both dummy corporations of Ayala Land. The ancestors of Hacienda Dolores farmers started cultivated the lands since 1835 under the Spanish colonial rule. The 2,000-hectare Hacienda Dolores is being targeted by Ayala Land for a Nuvali-like project.
Amc and ANMHD challenged the local officials of Porac and Pampanga police to carry out an impartial investigation.
“Don’t make it obvious that you are all influenced by Ayala, who we all know are rich and powerful, and continue to be a disgrace to the Hacienda Dolores farmers. Instead of begging you, we are calling for support from people of different sectors as this is actually the fundamental piece of breaking this oppression by Ayala Land and its cohorts,” Franco ended. #