The mass-arrested farmers at Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac on June 9 are the rightful owners of the property after all, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) announced.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has reaffirmed that all 94 members of local peasant group Makisama-Tinang are among the 178 beneficiaries of its revalidated list released on Monday, June 20, the KMP said in an announcement.
The announcement included photos of DAR banners announcing an “Initial List of Qualified Beneficiaries” the KMP said were displayed at Concepcion Municipal Hall, Tinang Barangay Hall and at the hut at the contested 200 hectare property.
“[The list] bolsters the rightful claim of the Tinang farmers to the plot they cultivated with supporters last June 9, cementing the utter baseless-ness of the charges filed against them,” the KMP said.
“At the same time, it further cripples the wobbly claims by land grabber and incoming Mayor Noel Villanueva, his puppet cooperative, and the police, of any offense from the part of the Tinang farmers and their supporters,” the group added.
The KMP said that the DAR’s announcement of its long-awaited list will pave the way for the Tinang farmer-beneficiaries installation “at the soonest possible time.”
The group however warned that Villanueva, incumbent Representative and incoming Concepcion mayor, is expected to continue opposing the move.
“(L)and grabber Noel Villanueva is expected to try and continue to deprive the Tinang farmers of their land, as their clan has done for decades. For this, we encourage everyone to stay vigilant,” the KMP said.
Many Makisama-Tinang members were violently arrested with their supporters last June 9 while having lunch and were charged with illegal assembly and malicious mischief by the Concepcion police.
The farmers said the police acted upon orders of Villanueva who they blame for their four-day ordeal that drew widespread condemnation nationwide.
At their arraignment last June 19 at the Capas Municipal Trial Court in connection with their mass arrest, the farmers and their supporters were informed that the additional charges of Disobedience, Obstruction of Justice and Usurpation of Real Rights were filed against them by the police.
They will be arraigned on the additional charges at the Tarlac Regional Trial Court on June 28. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)