Farmers facing coco theft raps stay in hiding


LUCENA CITY—Now it can be told.

More than 20 farmers from Bondoc Peninsula, who have long been wanted on what they said were trumped-up charges of coconut theft, came out of hiding and quietly attended the land distribution program in Mulanay, Quezon, on Wednesday.

“They witnessed how their respective families received the Cloas (certificates of land ownership award),” said Jansept Geronimo, campaign officer of Quezon Association of Rural Development and Democratization Services, a nongovernment organization helping Bondoc Peninsula farmers own the land they till.

“They were just watching from a distance during the ceremony. Some were incognito, with their families unaware of their presence,” Geronimo told the Inquirer in an interview on Friday.

He said most of the wanted farmer-beneficiaries had mixed emotions during the event, with some silently shedding tears of joy while others were crying in pain because they could not come out for fear of being arrested.

Geronimo said they tried to prevent the farmers from attending the event for fear they would be arrested and sent to jail because they didn’t have money to pay for bail.

He said the farmers, however, insisted on their right to savor the feeling of victory.

Geronimo said they were relieved there were no arrests made and the farmers were able to safely return to where they had been hiding, far from their loved ones.

The farmers were forced into hiding after they were charged with coconut theft and trespassing by landowners. If arrested, some of them would have to shell out nearly P100,000 for bail.

More than 5,000 farmers from different towns in the Bondoc Peninsula area—Mulanay, San Francisco, San Andres, San Narciso and Buenavista—attended the awarding ceremony.

“Unless the government lifts the warrants and dismisses all the baseless and unjustifiable criminal cases, the initial distribution of Cloas will be a pyrrhic victory,” Geronimo said.

He urged President Aquino to ask the Department of Justice to conduct a reinvestigation of all the cases involving the Bondoc farmers and lobby for the cases’ dismissal.

Geronimo also appealed to President Aquino and the Department of Agrarian Reform to immediately resolve all pending cases that delay the distribution of farm lands, particularly in the 1,716-hectare Hacienda Matias in San Francisco town.

Citing results of his group’s study, Geronimo said more than 18,000 hectares of land in the peninsula covered by agrarian reform are still undistributed.

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  • batangpaslit

    hindi na detail ang tresspassing charges….paano?

  • regie

    irpeal na kasi ang qualified theft due to stealing coconut.

  • Guest

    Coco theft?

    Wag sanang magalit ang mga maka-PNoy. Pero I never heard of PNoy and his family being charged for exploiting the fruits and toil of the farmers’ labor. Cory herself never had to work. She got her inheritance at the expense of landless and deprived farmers. Ninoy had no income from 1972 onwards. Pero nakabili pa sila ng dalawang bahay sa Boston noong nan doon sila from 1981 to 1983.

    Si Mrs Abad na asawa ni Florencio who’s making a tidy profit from money market through special access to the coco levy fund thanks to her hubby, bakit hindi siya nakakasuhan? Pwede namang tiktikan ng AMLC yung fund movements.

    Si Tito Danding ni PNoy who used the coco levy fund for personal gain, why is he not behind bars instead of living on a life-support system?

    Tapos coco theft dahil lang sa ilang buko?

    • jga94

      “Si Mrs Abad na asawa ni Florencio who’s making a tidy profit from money market through special access to the coco levy fund thanks to her hubby, bakit hindi siya nakakasuhan? ”

      How do you know this? Andaling mag-akusa kung nakatago ka lang sa isang pseudonym.

      The article did not even say what the case was about and what the basis was for and against the case….bad writing IMO.

      • Guest

        Ang dali ding magtago sa posisyon ng gobyerno at gamitin ang pondo ng mga magniniyog na hindi nakikita ng tao. Lalo na’t hindi naipasa ang FOI bill. Anong katibayan mo na hindi ito ginagawa ni Mrs. Abad? Bad writing IMO.

        Madali ang magbulag-bulagan, pero hindi ito nakakabuti sa bayan.

      • jga94

        Yun nga eh…madaling magtago sabi mo….so papaano mo nalaman? May insider info ka? Binulong sa iyo ng hangin?

        I have not read any news about this…so please “enlighten” us…spare us from “blindness.”

      • Guest

        Yun nga eh…madaling magtago sa gobyerno…so papaano mo nalaman na hindi niya ginawa? May insider info ka? Binulong ba sa iyo ng ibong adarna?

        Please “enlighten” us on how far you will pretend that there’s nothing wrong. Spare us from the “truth”.

  • ed_nique

    how many coconuts were stolen? must have been a lot to merit this amount of bail. or was it added so that the trespassing would stick?

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