“First of all, the PNP claimed it is serving the order to vacate issued by Tarlac City Municipal Trial Court Branch 1 judge Marvin Mangino in dispersing the farmworkers, but actually there were no sheriff from the court to serve the order,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.
Ambala reported that they saw the police’s action as illegal, thus, its members defended their camp-out and in the process, at least 7 were arrested, among them were 2 minors, 2 barangay officials and Ambala leaders. The group said that the elements of the police were in full battle gear, armed with long firearms, which they said is a clear violation of their own rules of engagement.
“The very procedure the police carried out is illegal, they are armed and no sheriff was around to serve the order. They used excessive force, held and treated farmworkers as common criminals,” Canlas said.
Ambala said that arrested Ambala leader, Jay Martinez was assaulted by about 20 elements of the police and Manuel Mandigma, minors Meric Trinidad and Alfred Martinez, barangay councilor Winky Esteban and 2 others were handcuffed from behind and treated as common criminals. They were brought to Tarlac provincial headquarters in Brgy. Macabulos, Tarlac City, then to Tarlac City headquarters. They were put inside detention cells.
In addition, Ambala reported that Florida Sibayan was hurt when 4 police officers dragged her on the ground and that police have illegally searched the camp-out claiming they are searching for explosives. The arrested minor said to responding lawyers and supporters that there more arrested. The camp-out remained standing but about 150 elements of the police are on standby in Brgy. Balete.
“When the police were asked what charges would filed against those arrested, they could not invoke any but repeatedly saying they were ‘warrantless arrests.’ It is very dangerous that these ill-advised elements of the police could carry firearms and know nothing about the law,” Canlas said.
“We strongly demand the immediate release of the farmworkers and supporters. Appealing to government institutions such as the DAR, DOJ, all under president Aquino is becoming tiring and senseless, thus, we call on the people to support the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers and struggle for fundamental reforms, denounce Aquino for this gross violations of people’s basic rights,” Canlas called. #