DOJ urged to probe arrest of militant lawmaker in Luisita-A A +A
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A GROUP of fisherfolk on Wednesday called for an investigation into the arrest and detention of Anakpawis party-list Representative Fernando Hicap and 10 others in connection with the breaking up of the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.
In a letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the arrest was illegal since Hicap's group was only probing the impact of raffling off lots to farmworker beneficiaries.
Hicap and his team had just come from a dialogue with the Philippine Army at Barangay Balete when members of the Tarlac City police arrested them shortly before lunch on Tuesday.
Also arrested were Danilo Ramos, spokesperson of Anakpawis party-list, Florida Sibayan, acting chairperson of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), lawyer-nun and Australian missionary Sr. Patricia Fox, artists Ericson Acosta and Kerima Acosta, Hicap’s driver Rene Blazan, Hicap’s staff at the House of Representatives Kala San Juan, paralegal worker Ronald Matthew Gustillo and agrarian reform beneficiaries Angelina Nunag and Luz Versola.
They were charged with illegal assembly, trespass to dwelling, direct assault and malicious mischief.
"Madame Secretary, the action taken by PNP (Philippine National Police) Tarlac City is a grossly condemnable, totally illegal and a certified draconian act largely employed during the dark 14 years of Marcos dictatorship," said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.
Pamalakaya, where Hicap is the current chairperson, advised de Lima to check the accountability of Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II considering that the PNP is under his command.
"We assert that the DOJ should not ignore the incident, much more, take a blind eye on what’s going on in Hacienda Luisita. It is first and foremost, the constitutional duty of the justice department to uphold truth and deliver justice to the victims of landlessness, state repression and injustice," the letter read.
The Supreme Court earlier asked the government to comment on Ambala's opposition to the raffle system.
Ambala proposed a collective ownership, given the huge size of the sugar plantation and number of beneficiaries, which is more than 6,000.
The estate is controlled by the maternal relatives of President Benigno Aquino III. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)