farmers in the Philippines

Ombudsman junks complaints vs Concepcion police in Tinang 83 case

Joann Manabat

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Ombudsman junks complaints vs Concepcion police in Tinang 83 case

WAITING. Members of MAKISAMA-Tinang and their families await Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) officials at the end of a 45-day waiting period before the promised installation on their share of Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac.

Joann Manabat

Based on the consolidated resolution, of the more than 30 police officers accused, only then chief of Concepcion police Lieutenant Colonel Reynold Macabitas is guilty of discourtesy, meriting only to “reprimand” as penalty.

MABALACAT CITY, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed complaints filed against over 30 Concepcion, Tarlac, police officers accused of perjury, unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, false testimony, physical and mental torture which stemmed from a violent mass arrest in a tilling activity in June 2022.

Based on the consolidated resolution, of the more than 30 police officers sued, only then chief of Concepcion police Lieutenant Colonel Reynold Macabitas was found guilty of discourtesy, meriting only a “reprimand” as penalty.

Some members of the Malayang Kilusang Samahan ng Magsasaka ng Tinang (MAKISAMA-Tinang) together with peasant advocates from Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) have filed a motion for reconsideration following the dismissal of the case.

MAKISAMA-Tinang spokesperson Abby Bucad said they were dismayed by the resolution of the case and urged the Ombudsman to reconsider the dismissal of countercharges they have filed in July.

Nagfile kami ng motion for reconsideration para igiit na marahas ang pag aresto sa amin noon. Hindi namin alam bakit nadismiss. Hindi pa ba sapat yung video na ipinakita namin? Na kahit sinong makakita naman doon sa video, makikita mo anong nangyari,” (We filed a motion for reconsideration to assert that we were violently arrested. We don’t know why it was dismissed. Are the videos not enough? Anyone who has seen the video would witness what happened) Bucad told Rappler in an interview on Wednesday, October 10.

On June 9, 2022, the Concepcion police were accused of illegally arresting more than one hundred individuals at Hacienda Tinang in Tarlac during a cultivation activity. The 83 farmers, students, and peasant advocates, who were later dubbed as Tinang 83, were detained for four days.

Bucad said while they are awaiting for legal advice from their counsel, a dialogue is set between MAKISAMA-Tinang and the chair of the Tinang Samahang Nayon Multipurpose Cooperative  on the implementation of the installation order by the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Ariel Casilao, acting chair of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), also urges the Department of Agriculture to “draw the line” on police interventions on any agrarian disputes.

Nananawagan din kami sa DAR na salungguhitang iligal ang panghihimasok ng pulis sa anumang agrarian dispute. Nakikiusap ang agri-workers sa Ombudsman na suriin muli ang resolusyon ng kanilang tanggapan,” Casilao said. “Sangkaterbang abuso na ang pinagdaanan ng MAKISAMA-Tinang at ng Tinang 83, at panibagong abuso lamang ang hayaang umiral ang impunidad ng Concepcion police.” 

(We are calling on DAR to consider as illegal the entry of police officers in an aggrarian dispute. Agri workers are asking the Ombudsman to review their resolution. Members of MAKISAMA-Tinang and Tinang 83 suffered abuse, and it is another form of abuse to allow the impunity of the Concepcion police.)

The members of MAKISAMA-Tinang have been waiting for more than three decades as they are nearing installation, the last step on the process to own on their share of a 200-hectare sugarcane plantation. – Rappler.com

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