Latest Stories

Congressman, 10 others held in Luisita


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap and 10 others, including a nun, were arrested by police on Tuesday while on a mission to look into the implementation of agrarian reform programs in Hacienda Luisita, the sugar plantation in Tarlac owned by the family of President Aquino.

But Senior Supt. Alfred Corpus, Tarlac provincial police director, denied that the group had been placed under arrest.

“No arrests had been effected … They were invited [for questioning],” Corpus told the Inquirer by telephone, citing the report of Supt. Bayani Razalan, Tarlac City police chief.

Based on Razalan’s account, Corpus said Hicap’s group had put down three guard posts on the property of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in Barangay (village) Balete. RCBC claims to own a 500-hectare property there.

This was one of two pieces of property that Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) had sold. The Supreme Court has ordered HLI to pay P1.3 billion to the 6,212 qualified beneficiaries of agrarian reform in the estate as their share of the proceeds from the sale.

Night in jail?

Also allegedly arrested were Hicap’s daughter Carly Mae; Danilo Ramos of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP); Sr. Patricia Fox of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; former political prisoners Ericson Acosta and his wife, Kerima Tariman, and Ronald Gustillo of the human rights group Karapatan; Luz Versola, Pong Sibayan and Angelina Nunag, leaders of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala); and Rene Blasan, Hicap’s driver.

“It looks like we are going to spend the night at the Tarlac City police jail,” Fox, 66, said when reached through her mobile phone at 3 p.m.

“It seems that there is no possibility of release because [Hacienda Luisita Inc.] has not yet submitted its affidavit [for its complaints],” Fox told the Inquirer.

Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general, said the arrests took place on the last day of a fact-finding mission to look into allegations that a Supreme Court order to distribute the 5,000-hectare estate to around 6,000 farmers had been tainted by wrong land allocations, land-grabbing and militarization.

“We strongly condemn this barefaced act of fascism inside Hacienda Luisita. This shows the President and his family’s maneuvers, including the use of the state’s armed machinery, in order to maintain control over the lands,” Flores said.

Flores said the cases against the 11 persons were malicious mischief, illegal assembly, direct assault and trespass to dwelling.

Invited for questioning

Corpus said the 11 persons were “invited for questioning” based on a verbal complaint of HLI after the incident in Barangay Balete. As of 3:30 p.m., Corpus said no case had been filed against Hicap and his companions.

Corpus said he was not aware that Hicap was among those taken to the station.

Antonio Ligon, HLI spokesman, said HLI had not asked the police to take action against the group in Balete.

Karapatan demanded the immediate release of Hicap and his companions. “Their arrest is illegal and is violative of their right to assembly, free expression and to conduct independent investigations of human rights violations. No less than President Aquino and his private armies in the [police] and [military] in Tarlac should be made accountable for this,” it said.

“Representative Hicap and his group were just exercising their right to assembly, so why did the police arrest them? Did they not even know that he is an incumbent congressman and is just administering the interest of his constituents?” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in Manila.

Colmenares said arresting a member of Congress while lawmakers were tackling the proposed 2014 national budget constituted harassment, and Hicap’s arrest could be taken to mean the police wanted to prevent the Anakpawis representative from participating in the discussions.

Harassment claims

If Hicap and his companions are not released, the Makabayan group will move for a zero budget for the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Colmenares said.

Anakpawis said that Hicap went to Hacienda Luisia to look into claims of harassment of beneficiaries during the land distribution process.

Anakpawis alleged that the distribution was done under the watch of numerous police and military personnel in the area, and that farm worker-beneficiaries were “coerced” into signing promissory notes, or the application to purchase and farmers undertaking (Apfu), a document required in the transfer to the farmers of land titles.

The Apfu will also mean that the farmers have manifested their willingness to pay the amortization and real estate taxes on the land, said Anakpawis leader Rafael Mariano.


“(Agrarian Reform) Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said they have concluded the lot allocation process in Hacienda Luisita and refusal of any identified farmer-beneficiary to sign the Apfu, is a ground for the farmer or farm worker to be stricken out of the list of beneficiaries and be replaced by other qualified beneficiaries,” Mariano said.—With a report from Leila B. Salaverria in Manila


Militant solon, others arrested at Hacienda Luisita

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: arrests , Fernando Hicap , Hacienda Luisita , Philippines - Regions , Police , Tarlac

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. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace