December 14, 2005

We Condemn DAR and Cuenca for Killing SC Rule and Crippling Agrarian Reform in Hacienda Velez-Malaga!!!

We, holders of certificates of landownership award (CLOA) of the 44-hectare portion of Hacienda Velez-Malaga in Brgy. Robles, La Castellana, Negros Occidental under nation al peasant federation Task Force Mapalad strongly condemn the Department of Agrarian Reform and former landowner Roberto Cuenca’s killing of the spirit of the Supreme Court landmark ruling which should have empowered us to own and takepossession of the lands we tilled for decades.

On Sept. 23, 2004, the SC came out with a decision stating that DAR has the original and exclusive jurisdiction over agrarian reform matters and disputes and that lower courts have no jurisdiction to entertain or decide on such matters – rendering all the lower court cases filed by Cuenca to block CARP implementation null and void.

The same ruling effectively upheld section 55 of R.A. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law which states among others that “no court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council or any of its duly authorized or designated agencies in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or in connection with the application, implementation, enforcement or interpretation of this Act and other
pertinent law on agrarian reform.”

The SC decision became final on January 19, 2005 and set aside Cuenca’s motion to stop CARP implementation in his property. The decision became final and executory after it was recorded in the Entry of Judgment of the Third Division of the SC on March 9, 2005.

All of these laws and orders however meant nothing to both DAR and Cuenca. Cuenca, stubborn as he is, continues to violate the law. While the DAR which was supposed to follow its mandate of defending CARP at all times and following the rule of law thru the order of the High Tribunal has joined Cuenca in making agrarian reform an impossible dream in Hacienda Velez-Malaga.

Emasculated. Spineless. A dud. These perhaps are some of the terms that best describe the DAR leadership.

The DAR under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is an epitome of cowardice. DAR is more afraid of Cuenca, a criminal on the loose which the department could have sued, arrested and imprisoned for continuously violating the SC rule and the CARP Law.

But the DAR leadership opted to give right to the rightless, justice to the unjust than to defend us CLOA holders and legal owners of Hacienda Velez-Malaga.

Three years after we became CLOA holders, the DAR did nothing but to follow Cuenca’s stupid whims and play the dirty and anti-farmer game of this one stubborn landlord.

Freedom and justice have eluded us, not just because of a recalcitrant landlord but more so because DAR, despite its gargantuan state power which it could exercise to let social justice reign – is nothing but one backboneless, putrid institution.

When Cuenca’s goons fired at us and burned our houses last year, DAR did nothing. Up to now, the administration of Gloria Arroyo- whose husband is also one of Negros’ recalcitrant landlords – is allowing Cuenca to reap the fruits of the land he no longer owns. For the last three years, the DAR has tolerated Cuenca’s illegal planting of sugar cane in our land. In those years, Cuenca amassed about P 88 million from our land. And DAR has allowed such stealing to continue.

It is so despicable that the DAR leadership itself is killing its own social justice program by being an instrument to Cuenca’s greed. Thus, the DAR and the GMA administration should not be surprised if one day, they would see more blood spilling on the fields. There is no other culprit to a violence waiting to happen but the government itself.

Hacienda Velez-Malaga Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries

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