The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK, KMP Southern Tagalog) said that president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino should not be soft and slow on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam issue and immediately push the investigation and prosecute those who raked up public funds for their own selfish interests. The groups that set-up the camp-out at Mendiola on June 30 but violently dispersed on July 3 said that the investigation on the multi-million scam is included on their immediate demands submitted to Aquino.
“We remind Noynoy to act fast now on this issue, don’t sleep on it and be late as the previous Arroyo regime has tried to cover it up to evade accountability. He should do concrete actions that would differentiate him from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General said in a press statement.
“He should not wait for the truth commission as this would take longer time and former agriculture officials Cito Lorenzo and Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante could again run abroad to escape prosecution,” he added.
The groups said that the Aquino government has done the same with Lorenzo as what the Arroyo government has done to Bolante. Bolante returned to the country on October 29, 2008 and he was brought to St. Luke’s hospital as he claimed experiencing heart pains. Now, Lorenzo slipped into the country beyond public notice, met Aquino on a social gathering, had a small talk as if no P728-million fund was embezzled. Both Lorenzo and Bolante are free and yet to be held accountable.
In addition, KASAMA-TK said that Aquino has yet to do for the resolution of the issue and tolerated the culprits such as Lorenzo and Bolante as their are still outside the investigative process and able to do another runaway.
“Bolante was faking heart pains and enjoying the airconditioned rooms of the luxury hospital when he returned to the country, while our former peasant leader Rogelio ‘Ka Mamay’ Galit, a complainant on the plunder case and a witness on the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings, was being arrested as part of the Arroyo’s political repression on 72 peasants and activists in Southern Tagalog or dubbed as Southern Tagalog 72,” said Axel Pinpin, KASAMA-TK Secretary-General.
“Ka Mamay was genuinely sick and bedridden when he was arrested, while the corrupt Bolante who enjoyed stolen money was brought to a comfy private hospital. He was injured at the congress when police and security guards prevented us from attending a committee hearing. Since then, his diabetes worsened. Last June 2, he died of complications from it, without seeing justice and genuine land reform and now Aquino is socializing with Lorenzo,” Pinpin said.
KMP said that the P728-million fertilizer fund scam issue has hounded their leaders and members as they stood witnesses and testified there were no fertilizer subsidies awarded to any member of their group.
KMP Panay leader Nilo Arado and KMP Pampanga leader Ofelia Rodriguez were abducted and killed, respectively. Arado was abducted on April 12, 2007 in Oton town, Iloilo by believed to be elements of the military. He was a witness at the senate hearings and testified there were no farmers under PAMANGGAS – Panay (KMP Panay) awarded with fertilizer subsidies.
In addition, Rodriguez appeared before a public affairs program and granted an interview saying she never received any fertilizer subsidies. Consequently, she was killed on January 16, 2005 in Mexico, Pampanga by alleged military agents.
The groups said that the Aquino has yet to do for the resolution of the issue, by not doing anything, he continues to tolerate corruption and allow those responsible to be free of accountability while deprived peasants who testified of the anomaly became victims of human rights abuses.
“This is the sickening situation of our society, those who steal public money continues to enjoy lavish and comfortable lives, while we peasants, already marginalized, worse, are used in corruption such as the fertilizer fund scam. To demand justice, we are to push immensely our immediate demands of Noynoy Aquino until he hears us,” Ramos called. #