a land at Brgy. Manggang Marikit. (Photo by RNG Guimba)
The Mambayu farmers are facing ejectment cases as filed by ListaSaka group, Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) and Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO). ListaSaka is composed of illegitimate farmers backed up by a financier who is an in-law of Pedro Esguerra. Mambayu farmers are cultivating the lands part of Hacienda Davis since 1991 when it was abandoned by a failed agro-enterprise program of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
“This police chief David is pushing his luck by intruding on an agrarian case. There is a pending order from the Dept. of Agrarian Reform Region III and Central Office that MARO and PARO are trying to ignore, thus, worsening the situation,” said Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson.
Amgl said that DAR Undersecretary Narciso Nieto has affirmed DAR Region III’s memorandum to form a task force to identify legitimate farmer-beneficiaries, junking the MARO and PARO’s ListaSaka. In addition, while the the FBs are being identified, Mambayu farmers may cultivate the land. The group said that provincial and municipal agrarian office are carrying out insubordination to their superiors. Canlas said that police chief Col. Renato David is also a relative of Pedro Esguerra explaining his active involvement to the agrarian issue.
“Pagatpatan as he has the very right to cultivate the land while Col. Renato David has no right to arrest him. His very involvement to the case is illegal as this is within the jurisdiction of DAR,” Canlas said.
Local reports said that David has arrested Pagatpatan and charged with usurpation and trespassing as he was working on a land he does not own, and a member of ListaSaka complained of his cultivation. But Mambayu leaders and members who have coordinated with Amgl said that Pagatpatan was not charged with any crime when he was arrested. He was charged about 11am June 26, more than 24 hours since he was held and Pedro Esguerra and Cerelino Guimba, ListaSaka leaders were spotted at the kitchen area of the police headquarters. They served as complainants.
“This syndicate of land speculation is pressuring Mambayu farmers but their time is running out. We are now planning to file charges against Col. David, once we gather all the necessary data, may it be to the Ombudsman or whatever venue. This is the only way this harassment would be put on a halt,” Canlas said.
A lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) said that the basis for his arrest is weak thus he recommended a release order. The provincial prosecutor approved his release order but he was discharged only early Monday morning. #