By Yas D. Ocampo
Davao City – Anakpawis party list Rep. Ariel Casilao slammed Lapanday Foods Corporation for filing a case against Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano for alleged abuse of power after he installed 159 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) as owners of a 145-hectare land in Barangay San Isidro, Tagum City, Davao Del Norte.
“It is a desperate measure, as clearly, Lapanday is already isolated, they are seeking an ally with the Office of the Ombudsman, and we urge them, especially Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, not to allow the institution to be used as an instrument for the feudal interest of the Lorenzo family,” Casilao said in a press statement.
Casilao pointed out that there was already House resolution filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, seeking a probe on the shooting of farmer-beneficiaries by Lapanday armed guards last December, and a Court of Appeals decision which has denied Lapanday’s petition for a Temporary Restraining Order against the ceast-and-desist order (CDO) issued by Mariano.
He also averred that Mariano only carried out his order as Agrarian Reform Secretary when the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) failed to do so last April 18 and 20 because the Philippine National Police (PNP) did not back them up.
This compelled the farmers to camp out at the Don Chino Roces bridge in Mendiola on April 29 in a bid to draw support from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The president eventually met with them last week and pledged that he will support them.
“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 urged.
Casilao also stressed that the agrarian reform agenda, primarily advanced by Sec. Mariano, was part of the president’s commitment to implement genuine social reforms, coinciding with the legislative measure House Bill No. 555 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), and the pending Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) of the government – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (GRP-NDFP) peace negotiations.
“The Lapanday issue has evolved beyond legal issues, and has reached the moral plane of contradiction – the farmers’ sentiment for genuine land reform against the feudal interests of the landlords, which is actually being pursued by the peasant movement nationwide. We firmly believe that the Ombudsman would not stand against it, just to protect the interest of the Lorenzos,” Casilao said.
Tags: Agrarian Reform, Anakpawis party list, Anakpawis solon slams Lapanday for filing charges vs Mariano, Department of Agrarian Reform, Lapanday Foods Corporation, Office of the Ombudsman, Rafael Mariano, temporary restraining order