Latest Stories

Protesters in prison shirts hound DAR chief


Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes: Playing cat and mouse

MANILA, Philippines—Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes on Monday played cat and mouse at Quezon Memorial Circle with protesters seeking his resignation for alleged incompetence.

De los Reyes had just conducted a press conference at Max’s restaurant, where he slammed “misinformed” bishops calling for his ouster, and was proceeding to another restaurant, Bacolod Chicken Inasal, nearby to brief “friends” from the National Anti-Poverty Council-Farmers and Landless Rural Workers Council (NAPC-FLRW) about the programs of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Along the short route, some 30 farmers belonging to the Church-backed advocacy group Task Force Mapalad (TFM) showed up, wearing orange prison inmate shirts to show that they were not afraid of being jailed, carrying placards calling for the sacking of the DAR chief for his alleged failure to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which is expiring in 2014.

A stunned De los Reyes was shepherded by DAR staff inside Bacolod Chicken Inasal as park security guards held back the protesters who attempted to storm the restaurant. The DAR secretary slipped out through the back door and disappeared.

After around 30 minutes, obviously after being told that the protesters had left, De los Reyes returned to continue the briefing with the NAPC-FLRW. But soon, the protesters resurfaced and surrounded the restaurant.

De los Reyes decided to leave, this time through the front door, protected by a contingent from the Quezon City Police District from the howling protesters. De los Reyes headed to his sport utility vehicle, barely missing being hit by a placard, and drove off.

TFM national president

Alfredo Jaime explained that the farmers were clad in prison shirts to show that they were not afraid of landing in jail for their stunt. He said that the farmers only wanted to send their message that De los Reyes should be fired.

During the press briefing, De los Reyes explained that his department was on target with the implementation of the land-to-the-tiller program, contrary to claims by his critics that with nearly a million hectares of prime agricultural lands still to be distributed, the timetable could not be met.

“I think they (bishops) were misinformed. The data they have, I think, is inaccurate,” De los Reyes told reporters.

“The decision for me to resign and let go is the President’s decision. I will continue doing what I need to do while I am still here because that is my job,” he said.

De los Reyes pointed out that the bishops’ apprehension that the department only had until June 2014 to distribute land to beneficiaries was based on “a misreading of available data” and “a mistaken interpretation of what the law provides.”

De los Reyes cited Section 30 of the law—CARP with extension and reforms, or Carper—allowed the DAR to continue acquisition and distribution of landholdings with pending cases or proceedings even beyond 2014.

The agrarian reform secretary said that he has started to send letters to the bishops to explain the real status of the Carper implementation as well as the process of land acquisition and distribution as provided by the law.

President Aquino has said that he intends to complete the agrarian reform program which his mother, democracy icon Corazon Aquino, launched in 1988 as the centerpiece of a social justice promise to ease poverty and remove one of the major causes of the communist insurgency.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: agrarian reform , Ouster , Philippines , protest , Virgilio de Los Reyes

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Cagayan mayor shot dead after flag-raising ceremony
  3. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  6. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  7. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  8. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  9. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  10. More bodies from ship; transcript reveals wavering
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • 22 houses destroyed, 3 hurt as violent wind storm hits village
  • 242 out of 438 pass board tests for chemical engineers
  • Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  • 5 OFWs from Negros quarantined for MERS-CoV tests
  • Release of village chief’s truck caught carrying illegal logs slammed
  • Sports

  • Alaska takes quarterfinals opener over San Mig Coffee
  • Jackson finds second wind to push Meralco past Rain or Shine
  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Oil prices to go up on supply concerns, optimism on US rebound
  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • QC woman who flew in from Middle East tests negative for MERS-CoV
  • DFA, DOH urge OFWs not to panic over MERS-Cov
  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Marketplace