Village execs, farmers face multiple charges

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Multiple charges have been lodged before the court against village officials and farmers who were purportedly linked to the forced entry try into a disputed farmland in Barangay Maimpis, this city.

Anthony Gliban, a security guard from Great Star Security Inc., who was hired by the claimant lawyer Eligio Mallari to secure the demolition premises, filed charges of direct assault, trespassing, and obstruction of justice against Maimpis village chairman Romeo Dizon.

Charges were also filed against village council member Alfredo Manarang, and farmers James Manalo, Inocencio Galang, Alfredo Catacutan, Jessie Dela Peña, Jaime Gulapa, Precy Jacinto, Jun Jacinto, Dolores Catacutan and other "John Does" from Maimpis village.


In his complaint sheet, Gliban said that one of the farmers who tagged along with Dizon and Manarang fired a warning shot, which prompted the security guards to defend themselves.

Gliban and 30 other unidentified security guards, who were charged with attempted and frustrated murder, were the suspects in a recent shooting incident that inflicted gunshot wounds to five farmers.

Mallari’s camp has been carrying out the demolition based on the writ of demolition under an LRC case issued by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of the City of San Fernando Regional Trial Court Branch 42.

Execs not involved

Salvador Moya, counsel of Mallari, said Dizon urged the farmers to enter the premises of the demolition site, which resulted to the said shooting incident.

"Why is barangay captain Romeo Dizon leading the farmers' group to enforce themselves to get into the perimeter?" asked Moya in reference to the recent shooting incident.

But the accusation, Dizon said, "is not true." He cited his recorded conversation with Sheriff Angelito Domingo in which he was asked to urge the farmers not to enter the disputed farmland in order to avoid any violent confrontations.

Dizon added that he fully respects and supports the decision of the court.

"We cannot defy the court order regarding the disputed land. The barangay council, especially me, however, is responsible for keeping peace and order in the village. We are only investigating based on the reports that are reaching our office," said Dizon.

Moving forward

The farmers expressed their dismay over the multiple charges filed against them.

“If Eligio Mallari is a former commissioner of human rights, why is he not standing by his human rights advocacies? Why is he violating the rights of the small farmers? How did you ever become a commissioner if you are treating us like animals?” asked farmer Hansel Galang.

According to lawyer Anselmo Carlos, former counsel of the farmers, “this is just a tactic of the suspects to evade imprisonment.” Carlos said they are now planning to file an additional case of attempted murder aside from the charge initially submitted by the five victims.

“Before the end of this week, we are going to file charges of attempted and frustrated murder against Gliban, his fellow security guards, and whoever gave them the instructions to shoot,” said Carlos.

Meanwhile, 67-year-old Catacutan said he not going to back down despite the gun wounds that he got last week. According to him, the farmland is the only source of living of his family.

“We will continue to fight for it even if it means death. We are going to fight for our rights as farmers,” said Catacutan.

Jacinto, who was pistol whipped by the security guards, also believes that his fellow farmers must continue to push for their claims.

“The farmers of Barangay Maimpis will never cease from cultivating our farmlands. The Maimpis farmers will stand by their rights with our lives in line,” said Jacinto.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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