Not a simple case of overlapping, Singsons are grabbing the lands of farmer-beneficiaries – KMP
The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today assailed the San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) police of “cover up” in the investigations of the extra-judicial killing of peasant leaders Roger Vargas, and his wife Lucila last September, farmer-beneficiaries of the government’s agrarian reform program that is now allegedly being land grabbed by former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson.
The KMP issued the statement after Supt. Charlie Cabradilla, city police director, said in his investigation report that “On September 17, two days before the murders, two security guards hired by “still to be determined interested parties … had a heated argument with the victims.”
KMP secretary general Antonio Flores expressed dismay with the results of the investigation of the San Jose Del Monte-PNP.
“The PNP-SJDM and the Bulacan PNP’s deliberate failure to determine the so-called interested party that hired the security guards is like rubbing salt to the wounds of injustice being suffered by the Vargas family. The PNP-SJDM’s investigation smacks of cover-up and cowardice,” Flores said.
Flores said the security guard identified as Rogelio Mariano, alias Kamatis, himself admitted during their confrontation last September 18 and not September 17, a day before the brutal double murder of the Vargas couple that “the real enemy of the farmers are the Singsons.”
The farmers belonging to the KMP-affiliated Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Bulakan-San Jose Del Monte recorded a video of the confrontation and uploaded it on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXp7jVfNIFI&feature=youtu.be)
The more than 13-minute video was taken in the morning of September 18, when the Vargas couple and other farmers had a confrontation with the security guards of the SUPERB Security Agency led by Mariano who introduced themselves as employed by Singson who is claiming ownership of the contested 11-hectare agricultural land in Barangay San Isidro.
The peasant group also got hold of a document bearing the letterhead of the Province of Ilocos Sur dated September 15, 2015 and signed by Singson requesting Barangay (village) San Isidro Chairman Marcial Gannaban “to give assistant (sic) to their geodetic engineers and workers to ensure their safety in conducting the clearing, study, and topographic mapping” on the contested agricultural land.
The farmers said that the security guards were insisting to include the land being tilled and occupied by the Vargas couple.
Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, executive director of the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra), an institution giving legal assistance to the farmers said they are now preparing to file charges of “double murder” against the security guards led by Mariano and the Singsons, who also owns the SUPERB security agency.
“The motive could establish the identity of the perpetrators,” Pahilga said adding: “The Vargases do not have enemies and the only people who have the motive and intent are their rival in the land dispute, and in this case, the Singsons and his armed group.”
“The video and documents confirm the motive and intent,” the farmers’ lawyer said.
The KMP also assailed the so-called records from the San Jose del Monte assessor’s office, allegedly stating that “a 13-hectare lot that overlaps with the Vargas land is titled under the names of Regina Singson, Ronald Singson and Ronnel Singson. The Singsons bought the property in the 1990s, despite numerous claimants dating back to 1946 when it was owned by one named Casaso.”
“This land dispute is not a simple case of overlapping claims. The Singsons are encroaching, usurping, and grabbing the lands of legitimate farmer-beneficiaries in Barangay San Isidro,” Flores said.
Records from the Department of Agrarian Reform office in Sta. Maria town showed that the Vargas couple’s Certificate of Land Ownership Award (Cloa) was part of San Isidro properties of Philippine National Bank which were converted into agrarian land, said Rodel Eguia, a DAR program technologist.