Arman Padino, 33, died from a gunshot wound in the head at around 2 p.m., Jan. 13, at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – One of the three farmers who were fired upon by armed men in Hacienda Dolores died in the hospital, January 13.
Arman Padino, 33, died from a gunshot wound in the head at around 2 p.m., Jan. 13, at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga, according to the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL).
Padino, along with father and son Noel and Reynold Tumali were shot at by suspected security guards and goons of Leonardo-Lachenal Holdings, Inc. (LHI), FL Property Management Corp. (FL PMC) and Ayala Land on January 12. The three farmers were on their way to work on their farms when they were attacked.
The LHI and FL PMC are claiming ownership of more than 700 hectares of land in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga. The two corporations, in partnership with Ayala Land, plan to build a ‘Nuvali’-like residential area. Nuvali is an upscale residential subdivision in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, south of Manila. More than 350 farmers and 1,000 families stand to lose their livelihood.
Padino left behind his wife and their two sons aged eight and ten.
“This is an outright barbarism of LHI, FL PMC and Ayala against the vulnerable farmers of Hacienda Dolores. This has no place in a supposedly civilized and democratic society such as ours,” Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairman and regional coordinator of Anakpawis Party-list said in a statement.
Following the death of Padino, over 300 farmers from Hacienda Dolores marched toward the Porac municipal hall and demanded intervention from the local government and justice for the victims. The protesters also placed Padino’s casket in front of the said building.
“Officials of the local government of Porac are witnesses to the abuses of LHI, FL PMC and Ayala Land. But they act deaf and blind to the grievances of their constituents. Elements of the local police are usual partners of the private firms’ armed guards who continue to harass Hacienda Dolores farmers,” Canlas added.
According to Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (ANMHD, Association of United People of Hacienda Dolores), when village officials led by Antonio Tolentino responded to the attack, they were also fired upon by the perpetrators.
The local peasant group also found out that Tolentino and his fellow village officials have been charged with malicious mischief and carnapping by LHI and FL PMC.
AMGL condemned false reports claiming that the farmers were the ones who attacked the security guards of the corporations.
In a news article, the LLL Holdings Incorporated claimed that some 30 armed men belonging to ANMHD attacked a security outpost in Sitio Upper Balukbok, Hacienda Dolores, Pampanga last Sunday.
“These offensives of LHI, FL PMC and Ayala are comprehensive and well-coordinated. While their victims have yet to be cared for at the hospital, they had the time and resources to file charges against the real victims, and even release a biased report to the media. We hope that our friends from the media stand for truth and justice, and refuse to submit to the influences of these private firms,” Canlas said.
For more than eight months, farmers have been barred from working on their farms. The corporations fenced off some 700 hectares of land and set up security outposts.
An independent fact-finding mission held in October last year documented 26 cases of destruction and divestment of properties involving 21 farmers, including five women farmers.
The AMGL asserted that the farmers in Hacienda Dolores have the right to land as their ancestors developed the land since the Spanish colonial times.
In a related development, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) called on the House of Representatives’ committees on human rights and agrarian reform to immediately conduct a joint investigation on the killing of Padino and wounding of the Tumalis.
“We are calling on the House committees on human rights and on agrarian reform to immediately step-in on the rising political and agrarian-related violence in Hacienda Dolores,” Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general, said. “The escalating agrarian-related violence in Hacienda Dolores is similar to the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre that led to the intensified political killings at that time,” Flores said.
The November 16, 2004 massacre claimed the lives of seven farm workers. Supporters were also killed in separate incidents after the Hacienda Luisita massacre.
The KMP held liable the developers in Hacienda Dolores as among the brains behind the “barbaric act” against the farmers.“There is crackdown against the farmers of Hacienda Dolores. While there is blood in the hands of Ayala Land et al., the authorities are silent amidst the attacks,” the group said.