Resolution adopted on June 12, 2013 by VI International Conference of la Via Campesina
We, members of the La Via Campesina, gathered together on June 10 to 12, 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia, in its VI International Assembly hereby express our deep concern and support for the immediate and unconditional release of peasant political prisoners in the Philippines, who are leaders, organizers and colleagues of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) among whom are the following twenty three (23):
- Dario Tomada – former member of the KMP National Council and leader of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB), the regional chapter of KMP in Eastern Visayas. He was arrested on July 22, 2010 in Biñan, Laguna, being charged of 15 counts of murder in connection with the “mass graves” allegedly discovered in Inopacan, Leyte. He is currently in prison at Manila City Jail.
- Alex Arias – former member of the KMP National Council and former Chairperson of PUMALAG (KMP Provincial Chapter in Laguna in Southern Tagalog). On April 7, 2013, he was abducted and surfaced by the 1st Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army after six days of captivity. He was arrested and detained on the basis of an amended warrant of arrest which lists 36 aliases without any distinguishing descriptions for each of the aliases written. He is now detained on charges of kidnapping and double murder.
- Oscar Villesa – former leader of the SAGUPA-SB is also being charged of 15 counts of murder in connection with the “mass graves” allegedly discovered in Inopacan, Leyte. He is currently in prison at Manila City Jail.
- Lumban 3 namely Darwin Liwag (former Secretary General of PUMALAG), Rey Malaborbor and Aries Suazo were arrested on October 6, 2010 and collectively refer to them as “Lumban 3.” All of them remained at the Laguna provincial jail in Sta. Cruz for charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
- Antipolo 4 namely Jonathan Doroja, Leonardo Ocampo, Roberto Ocampo, Dulcismo Anaiasco of Katipunan ng Samahang Magsasaka (KASAMA-Rizal), a provincial chapter of KMP in Southern Tagalog. They are detained in Rizal Provincial Jail in Taytay, Rizal since 2004 and accused of various fabricated charges.
- Sisters Maricris and Emilia Quirante or the Quirante 2, women farmers from Negros Oriental who were charged with child abuse and rebellion. They are in prison at the Guihulngan City Jail since their arrest in March 24, 2007. Emilia is a municipal leader of KAUGMAON (KMP Negros Oriental) while Maricris is a peasant organizer.
- Jose Perez, Jaime Lambergo, Santiago Antipuesto, and Romulo Villanueva, also known as Cadiz 4. They were arrested by Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), for violation of PD 705, or Forestry Code of the Philippines, on July 5, 2008 in Brgy. Bonifacio, Cadiz, Negros Occidental. They are currently detained at Cadiz Provincial Jail.
- Buenavista 5 namely Antonio Sanchez, Ruben Busalanan, Edwin Lofranco, Rodrigo Mejias and Elpidio Tagsip, farmers from Buenavista, Bohol. They were charged with multiple murder by the military. They are in jail since February 3, 2003 or almost a decade now.
- Felicidad Caparal – staff of the Unyon ng mga Manggawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) . She was arrested in January 27, 2009 by state security forces in Northern Samar and was charged with multiple murder. She is now detained at the Dangcalan Provincial Jail in Northern Samar.
- Virgilio Corpuz – a development worker working with the Katinnulong Dagiti Umili iti Amianan-Regional Development Center Norther Luzon (Kaduami-RDC) and the coordinator of Piston Partylist in Region 2. He was arrested in his house last January 4, 2013 charged with a murder case pending at Branch 14 of Lagawe. Corpuz is the husband of Cita Managuelod, KMP National Council Member. Corpuz is currently detained at the Ifugao district jail in Tiger Hill, Kiangan.
The KMP is one of the LVC members in Philippines. Based on the information we have, there are 398 political prisoners in the country, at least 123 of whom were arrested under the Aquino administration. Half of those arrested were peasants who were charged with trumped-up cases because they were organizers and leaders asserting rights to land and genuine agrarian reform.
Under the administration of Aquino, the criminalization of agrarian cases continues. Those arrested, as stated above, are being charged with crimes such as murder, illegal possession of firearms and other charges which are non- bailable.
The injustice committed against all peasant political prisoners should not be tolerated. Let us all stand up and fight for the immediate and unconditional release of peasant political prisoners mentioned above , and the subsequent dropping of all charges filed against them by the Philippines government. Let us demand to stop criminalization of agrarian cases and to stop the Oplan Bayanihan, the counter-insurgency program of the Aquino government.
Let our voice be heard in the name of truth, justice and peace.