Criminal raps filed vs Alcala, others for failing to aid farmers
A criminal complaint was filed on Monday with the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao against ranking government officials for their negligence, failure to implement proper measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño weather phenomenon and provide assistance to farmers.
The farmers from Makilala, Mlang, Tulunan, Magpet, Roxas, Antipas, Arakan and Kidapawan City blocked a national road in Kidapawan on April 1. They were asking for 15,000 sacks of rice, seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides when the rain comes and they can plant again until harvest time.
The farmers said they had been calling on the government for assistance for the past three months but no help came.
Facing a complaint filed by Kidapawan farmers are Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Cotabato Crisis Committee, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ricardo Marquez, Mayor Joseph Evangelista of Kidapawan and Brgy. Captain Melvin Lamata, Jr. of Brgy. Poblacion, Kidapawan City.
Also included in the complaint are PNP Regional Director of Region 12 Noel Armilla, Provincial Police Director Superintendent Alexander C. Tagum, PNP Acting Dep. Director for Operations, Region 12 Senior Supt. Roberto Badian, City Police Director P/Supt. John Miridel R. Calinga, Lt. Col. Birrey, the Ground commander of the PNP Strike Force, Lt. Col. Arnold Argamosa, the Battlion Commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army, Col. Ronald Villanueva, the 1002nd Brigade Commander, 10th Infantry Division-Philippine Army, elements of the SWAT North Cotabato, elements of 39th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army.
Other respondents include PO2 Dyben Dominic Figueroa, PO2 Ben Jiimenez Torion, PO3 Rodrigo Entero Tito, SPO2 Robin Bandiola Porras, PO3 Xerxes Anthony Donasco Fiel, PO3 Michael C. Jordan, PO3 Elson Paez Gadat, SPO3 Fortunato Arce, PO2 Robert Hope Sanghan Agot, PO1 Kristine Alas Ocumen, POI Jose Mari Corpuz Molina, PO1 Ray Son L. Alolod, SPO2 Magin Edgardo L. Bueno III, PO1 Clark Ahit Gayas, PO3 Ruel B. Marimon, SPO2 Cesar Ruiz Olivar, PO3 Romel Magdato Guhiling, SPO2 Roderick Caballero Sillote, PO3 Elmer Gesulga Dasalla, PO1 Anthony Jala Macailing, PO1 Joselito Sumido Palmaera, PO1 Ricky Parnada Napao, PO3 Garry Doplyna Booc, PO1 Herwin Paller Pajo, PO1 Eric Casilad Geolingo, PO2 Alrec Albina Dela Cruz, PO1 Amor Niegos Gulliermo, PO2 Ronan Batislaong Cruspero, PO1 Ronald Bation Sillote, PO1 Ronald Charkie Alcala Amande, PO2 Jhoven Francisco Landrito, PO1 Johny Burgos Benitez, PO3 Joemer Llagas, Jasper Jay Belocura Moreno, PO1 Shiela Mae J. Estrada, PO2 Mercil P. Millomeda, PO1 Teolit T. Lagliva, PO1 Wilmae Macaya, PO1 Liezeljoy Nicer, PO1 Beaulahly Salazar, SPO2 Glesilda Atud, PO3 Ivy Bula, PO1 Marivic O. Aragon, PO1 Richelle Joan D. Lam-an, PO1 Berlyn B. Alba, PO1 Michelle A. Vicente, PO1 Anamarie Abatay, PO1 Roxanne Jill Garde, PO1 Belinda L. Pacatang, PO3 Richard Villegas Lagutang, PI Charles Suarez Fulache, PO2 Norodin M. Cabuyao, SPO2 Nilo Aventura Loredo, PO3 Jovette S. Galan, POI Irvin Basilio Cambang, PO2 Ariel Hermado Maquiling, PO1 Crismal P. Laguerder, SPO4 Ulysis Viloan Sagun, SPO2 Arnold Remotin, PO1 Robert Ian Dignadice, P/Insp. Armando S. Abasolo, PO3 Jaypee Sarabia, SPO2 Raul Literato Cantoy, PO1 Ariel Ganalonza Acosta, PO1Jeriel P. Catipay, PO3 Renato Oclarino Tesoro, PO1 Bernrd Molina Sumagit, PO3 Dindo Paredes Celarta, PO1 Chrlyn Cantomayor Ines, SPO4 Joseph Dasia Ones and PO1 Jennifer L. Isla.
The respondents are accused of violating Republic Act No. 7438 or An Act Defining Certain Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation, As Well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers, RA No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act, Batas Pambansa Bilang 880 or the Public Assembly Act, RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Arbitrary Detention; Perjury in Solemn Affirmation and obstruction of justice.
Complainants, namely, Gerardo E. Alborme, Bai Ali Indayla, Sheena Duazo, Loreto Felizardo, Zandro Redondo, Mark Anthony Delgado, Dionisio P. Alagos, Crisanto Carlum, Valentina Berden, Jovita Debalid, Lolita Porras, Mirriam Damiog, Arlene Candiban, Eliza Candiban, Rolinda Paonil, Lumeriano Agustin, and Christopher Candiban are assisted by lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and the Public Interest Law Center (PILC).
As early as 2014, the government has announced its preparedness for the El Niño phenomenon. Alcala said the government had started setting up measures to mitigate the effects of drought.
Last January, the provincial board of North Cotabato declared a state of calamity, noting that the drought had already caused over P238 million in damages. Under a state of calamity, the provincial government has been allowed to allocate and disburse five percent of its Internal Revenue Allocation worth P321-million funds.
However, the farmers said as early as December, they had been starving, feeling the effects of El Niño.
“The farmers were only asking for rice. They were driven to do this because of the extreme hunger that they and their families have already suffered due to the severity of the effects of El Niño. The provincial government could have immediately addressed this concern by giving them what they have asked for, along with a clear plan on how to help the farmers survive the effects of El Niño.,” the complaint stated.
“Had governor Taliño-Mendoza and her Crisis Committee done this, instead of ordering the dispersal of the protest, the violence could have been averted… Even the provincial government of North Cotabato had already announced its readiness to face the impact of El Nino in the province, and even allocated the calamity funds for it. How come these farmers still reached the point of starvation, driving them to the streets to ask for the very thing that was supposed to have (been) long given them,” the complaint read.
Complainants also asked the Ombudsman to administratively hold liable the respondents. RAM
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