Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1126: On reviving the Aquino-Galman case

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 26 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Solon critical of motives behind moves to revive Aquino-Galman murder case;
pushes for the reopening of investigations into Olalia-Alay-ay murders, Mendiola

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the moves to reopen the
Aquino-Galman murder case were connected to the ongoing investigations on the
Hacienda Luisita Massacre last November 16 which claimed the lives of 14
farmwrorkers and wounded scores of others.

Beltran said that the Cojuangco family led by former congressman Jose "Peping"
Cojuangco, former president Corazon C. Aquino and Tarlac 2nd District. Rep.
Benigno C. Aquino III were trying to divert the public's attention from the
brutality they ordered to be unleashed against the workers and farmworkers
of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac, and turn the spotlight
once more on the martyred Ninoy Aquino.

"It's impossible not to see a connection between these two developments. The
investigations on the Luisita Massacre have been gaining headway and moving on
towards the divulging of reasons why there is widespread discontent among the
farmworkers and workers of Hacienda. The massacre is deeply rooted in the
decades-long struggle for land and the Cojuangco's refusal to surrender what
rightfully belongs to the thousands of farmworkers and their families. The
Cojuangcos are deliberately trying to illicit sympathy from the public by
reviving the Aquino-Galman case," he said.

Beltran said that if the martyred senator and acknowledged hero of the
anti-dictatorship struggle were alive today, he would not have condoned what
the Cojuangcos have done to the farmworkers.

"What is most important now is that not only should the perpetrators and
masterminds of the Luisita Massacre be sacked and punished - among them labor
secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas - but the roots of the land conflict in the
Hacienda be arrived at. The Stock Distribution Option (SDO) program in the
Hacienda should be reviewed and then abolished, and the land genuinely and
evenly distributed among all the farmworkers of the hacienda," he said.

The labor leader turned lawmaker said that if the Aquino-Galman case would be
revived, then he is also pushing for the revival of the double-murder of
labor leader Rolando Olalia and his aide, worker-activist Leonor Alay-ay who
were both killed by the military in November 1996, a few months after Cory
Aquino was installed in Malacanang.

"Ka Lando was became the president of the KMU after his father, Ka Bert Olalia
died in 1983. He became the legal counsel of National Federation of Labor
Unions (NAFLU). He also became the president, both of the Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan (BAYAN), and Partido ng Bayan.

Because of his unflinching criticism of the continued exploitation that workers
suffered even under the supposed 'revolutionary government' of President
Corazon Aquino, Ka Lando like his father before him was targeted by military
forces allied with the government. Together with Alay-ay, Ka Lando was
abducted on the night of November 13, 1986. The following day, their dead
bodies were found. They bore signs of vicious torture. Ka Lando sustained
four gunshots in the head, and six stab wounds in his torso. His mouth was
stuffed with newspapers, his hands tied closely together with his own belt.

On the day of his burial, more than 600,000 workers and people from all walks of
life joined the funeral march and demanded justice for his brutal murder. Work
stoppages took place in 217 workplaces.

Beltran also said that the Mendiola Massacre case has not been resolved either
- "Pres. Aquino did not push as hard as she should have for the resolution of
the Mendiola Massacre, not even when it was made known that a large number of
the participants to the rally that was attacked were from Tarlac and other
provinces in Central Luzon." #


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