Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1209: Luisita leader killed

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release December 9 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran blames Cojuangco family, AFP for brutal killing of Peasant
leader Marcellino "Ka Marcing" Beltran, survivor of Hacienda Luisita Massacre

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran decried the brutal, cold-blooded
killing of Anakpawis provincial chapter leader, vice-president of Kilusang
Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)-Tarlac Marcelino Beltran last night, December 8
at 11:30 pm.

"Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day, and yet here we have a peasant
leader shot down in front of his own house by military forces. The AFP
have consistently remained the most brutal violators of human rights in the
country. Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo , in the meantime, has done nothing to
reign in these monsters in the AFP. Pres. Arroyo, as commander-in-chief of the
AFP should take a stand on this issue, and push for the surrender, arrest,
conviction and punishment of the perpetrators of Ka Marcing's murder."

According to witnesses, Ka Marcing was shot by members of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) in front of his house in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac. He is
one of the witnesses in the Hacienda Luisita massacre which claimed the lives
of 14 people. In his dying breathe, Ka Marcing said that his killers were
military men.

Beltran said that the killing of Ka Marcing Beltran was evidently politically
motivated. He said that the peasant leader was an active leader assisting
Hacienda Luisita workers in pushing for their democratic and economic rights.

The activist solon demanded that Tarlac 2nd District Rep. Benigno "Noynoy"
Aquino III take action against the military, as they were killing his
constituents. "This is the least that Rep. Aquino can do. Ka Marcing was one
of his constituents, and its verifiable that Ka Marcing supported him in the
May 2004 Congressional race in Tarlac."

Beltran added, however, that it was difficult to not blame the Cojuangco-Aquino
family for the murder of Ka Marcing. He said that Ka Marcing was a key witness
in the massacre that took place last Nov. 16. The third committee on human
rights hearing on the massacre is scheduled on December 14, and Ka Marcing
was supposed to attend the same.

"The Cojuangcos have been very arrogant, acting above the law and ignoring the
committee hearings and the charges leveled against them. They have not attended
the hearings - sending only mere paid representatives. Now, yet another
peasant leader has been killed, and the killing is directly linked to the
labor dispute and the brewing agrarian reform fight in the Hacienda. Pedro
Cojuangco - eldest Cojuangco and main manager of the Hacienda should be
compelled to attend the hearings and face the allegations against his
management and the Cojuangco family."

"Ka Marcing was silenced before he could testify against the Philippine
National Police (PNP) and the AFP and the massacre they perpetrated.Ka
Marcing was a brave and principled man. He was a peasant leader and a leader
of the people. He did not back down from threats made against him by the
military and the Cojuangco family's hired goons. His killing strengthens the
belief of many workers in the Hacienda that the military are actually on the
payroll of the Cojuangco family, and are carrying out their campaign of
vendetta and attrition against the workers and farmworkers," he said. #


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