Call for justice for Menelao "Boy" Barcia, Antonio Tolentino and farmers of Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga

Dear friends,

Please join us in our call for justice for the human rights violations of farmers in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga.

Killing of village councilor

Initial reports from Karapatan-Central Luzon cited the killing of Menelao "Boy" Barcia, 57. Barcia was a Barangay councilor (kagawad) and an official of Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban or Alliance of United People of Hacienda Dolores).

On May 2, at around 10:00 p.m.  Barcia picked up his wife Maria at a gas station in Angeles City where she worked. While driving their jeep back to Brgy. Hacienda Dolores, two motorcycles drove alongside them. There were two unidentified men on each of the motorcycles.

Suddenly, the men fired at Barcia's vehicle, killing him instantly. Barcia sustained four gunshot wounds—three in the chest and one at the back of his head. Maria was also injured and was brought by residents nearby to the Mt. Carmel Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga. As of this writing, Maria’s foot is scheduled for operation.

Witnesses of the incident are afraid to speak for fear of retaliation. Farmers of Hacienda Dolores believe that state security forces or goons hired by Triple L were involved in the killing.

Menelao Barcia had been monitoring of the administrative charges against Barangay captain Antonio Tolentino. With Tolentino, Barcia was also involved in uniting the farmers of Hacienda Dolores against the moves of the Triple L Company to grab their lands.

Harassment suits and trumped-up charges against ANIBAN members

Before Barcia was killed, on April 16, 2014, around 30 members of San Fernando City and Porac City PNP, all in combat gear, arrived at the barangay hall of Brgy. Hacienda Dolores and arrested village chief Antonio Tolentino.

Tolentino was talking with Barcia and the barangay treasurer when members of the PNP arrived. After briefly showing Tolentino a warrant of arrest for carnapping charge, the police grabbed and pulled Tolentino into a waiting police vehicle.  Two residents who were also at the barangay hall at that time accompanied Tolentino despite attempts of the police to ward them off.

Tolentino is currently detained at Angeles City District Jail for charges of carnapping and kidnapping with serious physical injuries. The village chief was also slapped with an administrative complaint for grave misconduct, oppression, abuse of authority and acts prejudicial to public service. The bail for the carnapping charge is PhP 180,000.

Two days after, on April 18, the policemen returned to Brgy. Hacienda Dolores and surrounded several households in Sitio Balucboc, Purok 8, Brgy. Hacienda Dolores. The police operation was conducted to arrest all of Tolentino's sons, namely: Tirso, Ener, Ed, Erwin, Eddie. All were named in the carnapping charge but none were arrested at the time of the police operation. According to witnesses, some of the police were in full combat gear but without nameplates; while several others including Porac PNP Chief Miro were in civilian clothes.  Some security personnel of Triple L accompanied the police.

Lucila Tolentino, wife of Tirso Tolentino, was in their house when the police arrived. She trembled in fear when she saw the armed policemen.

Antonio Tolentino was earlier arrested with his son Ener in January 13, a day after Triple L security guards shot and killed farmer Arman Padiño and injured Noel Tumali. The Tolentino's posted bail for charges of slight physical injuries and grave threats.

As early as October 2013, members of Aniban were subjected to harassment and intimidation, illegal arrests and detention. During an assembly, while members of Aniban were discussing concrete steps to take to stop the Triple L Company from seizing their farm lands, several members of the PNP arrived and sat in the meeting. PSupt. Juritz Rara also talked to barangay chairperson Antonio Tolentino who was facilitating the farmers' assembly.

While the assembly was going on, security guards of the Triple L tried to fence off the lands being tilled by the farmers of Hacienda Dolores. But they were stopped by the women farmers who are members of Aniban. Village councilors  Menelao Barcia and Cornelio Pineda demanded from the guards proof that they have permission to fence off the said areas. The security guards were forced away by the residents when they could not show any proof.

As a result, 30 Aniban members were charged of grave threats, grave coercion and usurpation of real rights in real property. The charge was filed by the security guards of Triple L. Those charged received a subpoena in March ordering them to appear before the provincial prosecutor of Pampanga.

The farmers of Hacienda Dolores face threats of eviction from the land they tilled for generations as the Leonardo-Lachenal Leonio Holdings, Inc (LLL), FL Property Management Corporation (FL) and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) eye the vast tracts of lands of the hacienda.  

We call on friends and human rights advocates to send letters of concern calling for:

 

  1. Justice for the extrajudicial killing of Menelao Barcia and the frustrated killing of his wife Maria.
  2. The iimmediate release of Barangay Captain Antonio Tolentino, and to stop filing of fabricated charges and arbitrary arrests against members of Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban or Alliance of United People of Hacienda Dolores) and farmers.
  3. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the incidents of human rights violations, to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators, and to investigate the landgrabbing  in lands in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga by the Triple L Company.
  4. The PH government and its state security forces to stop labelling and targeting human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
  5. The withdrawal of Oplan Bayanihan, the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program that victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians.
  6. The Philippine Government to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory to.

 

You may send your communications to the following agencies through mail, e-mail or fax:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op@president.gov.ph

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com

Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-1908
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph, lmdelima.doj@gmail.com, lmdelima.doj2@gmail.com

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

 

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below:

 

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