Re-open Luisita massacre case, farm workers urge

Leaders of Hacienda Luisita farm workers and supporters yesterday kicked off a 25-vehicle caravan from Quezon City to Tarlac to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the massacre inside the 6,453-hectare sugar estate.

The labor and agrarian dispute that culminated in the general strike six years ago at the main gate of Luisita resulted in a bloody dispersal of strikers.

When the smoke cleared, seven farm workers were dead and over 100 wounded.

Organizers led by the leftist peasant alliance Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the caravan will ask the Senate and the House of Representatives for the re-opening of the investigation of the Hacienda Luisita massacre case.

In a joint press statement, Danilo Ramos, KMP secretary-general, and Lito Bais, UMA chair and acting president of United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), said they will pursue the re-opening of congressional inquiry in both houses of Congress, which have yet to issue their respective findings on the massacre.

However, the Office of the Ombudsman dropped the case against civilian respondents implicated in the massacre.

The respondents were former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas and members of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan including President Benigno Aquino III.

The statement said the Ombudsman made the decision to render moot and academic whatever resolutions both chambers of Congress would come up with.

“In the name of truth and justice, we appeal to Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to cross party lines and re-open the Hacienda Luisita massacre case,” the statement said.

Ramos and Bais challenged President Aquino, his family and the officers of HLI to submit to investigation to determine their individual and collective roles in the massacre of Luisita farm workers. (D’Jay Lazaro)

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