Hicap and his group in Tarlac City police station after being arrested inside Hacienda Luisita. - Photo by Philippine Daily Inquirer
Hicap and his group in Tarlac City police station after being arrested inside Hacienda Luisita. – Photo by Philippine Daily Inquirer

Manila, Philippines – Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) stated in a letter addressed to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap together with his group were “falsely charged with illegal assembly, trespass to dwelling, direct assault and malicious mischief by Philippine National Police-Tarlac City.”

Aside from Hicap, others who are charged were his daughter Carly Mae; his driver, Rene Blasan; Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas spokesperson Danilo Ramos; former political prisoners Ericson Acosta and Kerima Tariman; Karapatan volunteer Ronald Gustillo; and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) leaders Luz Versola, Florida Sibayan and Angelina Nunag.

“Madam Secretary, the action taken by PNP Tarlac City is a grossly condemnable, totally illegal and a certified draconian act largely employed during the dark 14 years of Marcos dictatorship,” Pamalakaya’s letter read.

In addition, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general Antonio Flores testified that the arrest of Hicap and 10 others is an abuse to human rights which is just an example of abuses experienced by farm workers and residents of Hacienda Luisita.

“The national fact-finding mission team (was) in Hacienda Luisita to document political and economic rights abuses suffered by farm workers,” Flores said.

“Unfortunately, the team experienced first-hand the day-to-day violence experienced by Hacienda Luisita farm workers and residents,” he said.

“The illegal arrest and detention of Ka Pando and 10 other land reform advocates show that Hacienda Luisita is under a state of terror,” Flores added.

In contrast, Malacañang gave its consent to the action taken by the PNP-Tarlac City regarding the said arrest.

“It’s a law enforcement issue. There is a version coming from the Representative Hicap. There’s also a statement coming from the Philippine National Police,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Written by:

Princess Hayra Brecio de Belen
ABCom, Leyte Normal University