After SC ruling on Luisita distribution, youth group urges action on 2004 massacre

Source: Anakbayan Phils

The national youth group Anakbayan is urging Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to prioritize and take action on the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre in which seven farm workers and supporters were killed after soldiers opened fire on them.

“This is a chance for the Office of the Ombudsman to make amends and correct a very grievous injustice committed against the farm workers of Luisita” said Vencer Crisosotmo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.

According him, Carpio-Morales’ successor, Merceditas Guiterrez, sat on the case’ during her entire six-year term.

On November 6, 2004, more than five thousand farm workers went on strike to protest, among others, the illegal firing of their union officials and the infamous Stock Distribution Option (SDO). They were accompanied by residents of the ten baranggays inside Luisita, sympathetic baranggay officials, priests, and even people from other parts of Luzon.

Ten days after, soldiers used an armored personnel carrier (APC) to ram through the strikers’ picket line and then opened fire with more than a thousand rounds of ammunition.

The seven are: Jhavie Basilio, 20 years old; Juancho Sanchez, 20; Adriano Caballero, Jr., 23; Jhune David, 27; Jesus Laza, Jessie Valdez, and Jaime Pastidio. Six more were killed, said the farm workers, but their bodies were never recovered. In addition, 121 were injured, including 11 children and four aged above sixty years old.

Until today however, not a single government or military official has been charged in connection with the massacre. Among those being held by the farm workers’ unions as liable for the massacre are: former president and Armed Forces commander-in-chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas, former armed forces chief Hermogenes Esperon, former police chief Edgardo Aglipay, and the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

“We hope that the Ombudsman will do its job despite the clear conflict with the interests of the presidential family” said Crisostomo.

Despite repeated claims by the Palace that President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III has divested his share in Hacienda Luisita, Anakbayan has maintained that Aquino is still responsible for any developments (or lack of) in issues surrounding the Tarlac estate as the head of the government.


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