FLORIDABLANCA - Farmers here led by Jaime Tadeo condemned the alleged harassment of armed men against them on the 164-hectare property in Barangay San Jose.
"This is harassment on broad daylight tolerated by the Floridablanca police," Tadeo said, referring to the incident when town police chief Rodney Baluyu refused to question and check on the armed men who carried several armalite rifles.
Tadeo, who assisted some 80 members of the San Jose Farmers Association (SJFA), said that the armed men with the alleged landowner, one Ramon Joven of Bacolor town, destroyed farmers' huts and belongings and hurt some of the SJFA members Tuesday last week.
Tension gripped the property near the exit of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway shortly after Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (Maro) Ariel Santos served the order issued by Department of Agrarian (DAR) regional office.
"We were just armed with the belief that the law will prevail in the country. Baluyu had even allegedly moved his finger as armed men ganged up on the farmers," said SJFA President Jimmy Sotto, adding that he had seen Joven in one of the vehicles used by his people.
Tadeo and the SJFA members had wanted to start tilling their lands for the sake of their families when they tried to re-occupy it last week.
Tadeo said the farmers had been forced by Joven out of the disputed land last year. He added that Joven had no order from the DAR or any court of law when he forced the farmers to leave the property.
Mayor Eddie Guerrero of this town ordered the police to assist the farmers who accompanied Santos in serving DAR order denying the motion for reconsideration filed by Joven.
An order from DAR-Central Luzon Director Teofilo Inocencio dated June 17 said: "During the deliberation conducted on 10 June 2010, RCLUPPI Committee members observed that movant Ramon Joven Jr. has not presented any new evidence in support of the application for exemption and that the issues raised in the instant motion have already been thoroughly addressed with the issuance of the order dated 13 April 2010."
The order added: "Thus, the committee found no compelling reason or justification to warrant a reversal of the assailed order. Furthermore, the committee recommended for the exclusion of 32.3910 hectares as per approved survey plan no. Psd-03-128275 (AR) and the 5.9706 hectares purchased/expropriated by BCDA for the Subic-Clark Expressway (SCTEX) from the original subject landholding of the instant application for exemption. Wherefore, premises considered, an order is hereby issued denying the instant motion for reconsideration for lack of merit."
"On 13 April 2010, this office rendered a decision in the above entitled case the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: Whereof, premises considered, an order is hereby issued denying the instant application for exemption for lack of merit. The MARO and PARO are hereby directed to process the re-documentation of the claim folder of the property owned by Ramon Joven under RA 6657, as amended by RA 9700.The MARO and PARO are likewise directed to delineate the portion with an area of 5,9706 hectares, more or less, which was expropriated/purchased by BCDA for the Subic-Clark Expressway(SCTEX)," said another order issued earlier by the DAR-III.
"Records further reveal that subject landholding was subdivided into several lots pursuant to the documentation process under PD 27 resulting to Approved Survey Plan No. Psd-03-128275 (AR). Said plan indicates that lots 27 & 48 with an area of 28.5979 hectares were partitioned in favor of Ramon Joven; lots 9 & 91 were identified as creek areas involving 3,372 square meters; &lot 28 is legal easement with an area of 3.4659 hectares for an aggregate area of 32.3910 hectares thereby leaving only 131.7293 hectares as the subject of the above-stated Motion for Reconsideration," it said.
Joven had not issued statements except in a recent radio news program in Central Luzon where his lawyer denied the allegations and said that everything was in order. (Jovi T. De Leon)