[Urgent Appeal] Continuing harassment of Bgy. Capt. Rolando Martinez, member of SANAMABASU, farmer beneficiaries in Hermosa, Bataan -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL
October 12, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) Continuing harassment of Bgy. Capt. Rolando Martinez, member of SANAMABASU, farmer beneficiaries in Barangay Sumalo, Hermosa, Bataan

ISSUES: Right not to be deprived of means of subsistence; Access to Justice; Land Rights

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the continuing harassment suffered by Barangay Captain Rolando Martinez, a member of the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Barangay Sumalo (SANAMABASU) by Riverside Development Corporation owned by the Litton Family.

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CASE DETAILS:

Rolando Martinez is the incumbent Barangay Captain of Barangay Sumalo, Hermosa, Bataan. Since 2009, Martinez has been leading the fight against Riverforest Development Corporation whose personnel have allegedly been harassing residents and farmers in relation to the Litton Estate land dispute. Martinez has been helping the residents of his barangay, particularly on legal matters, both as a barangay captain and as a farmer and resident himself.

Martinez has also been the target of harassments. In 2010 and again in 2013, trumped-up charges were filed against him: grave threat, two counts of grave coercion, grave misconduct, falsification, damages, ejectment, injunction, reinvigatoria, and estafa. Martinez has also received threats to his life which started also in 2009 at the height of the land dispute. He frequently received ambiguous text messages sent from different numbers. He was also visited a couple of times by an unidentified who was said to have been the Litton family’s hired assassin. (This alleged hired assassin was ambushed and killed on the same year).

Just recently around August (cannot remember exact date), while Martinez was travelling to Quezon City from Hermosa, Bataan to follow up the complaints they filed at the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), he noticed that at least two men were following him. Martinez took the Genesis bus to the SM North jeepney terminal where the men also alighted. He was also surprised when the men followed him to the restroom and stood by the door. When Martinez came out of the restroom, the men followed him until Philcoa, riding the same jeep. Martinez decided to cancel his trip to CHR and just returned home to Hermosa, Bataan.

CASE BACKGROUND:

·         According to the members of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Barangay Sumalo (SANAMABASU), they have been experiencing harassment from the Litton Family since 1991 when the Littons decided to withdraw their Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) and opted to apply for conversion of the land to industrial, commercial and residential use.

·         The farmers are the supposed beneficiaries of the land through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

·         Rolando Martinez is a member of SANAMABASU, a resident and also a farmer of Sumalo, Hermosa Bataan.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO  BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF CONTINUING HARASSMENT AND ENSURE AND GUARANTEE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF ALL MEMBERS OF SAMAHAN NG NAGKAKAISANG MAMAMAYAN NG BARANGAY SUMALO (SANAMABASU), FARMERS AND RESIDENTS OF SUMALO, HERMOSA, BATAAN.

Thank you.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear,

Greetings!

This is to express my grave concern regarding the continuing harassment of Barangay Captain Rolando Martinez, a member of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Barangay Sumalo (SANAMABASU), in Sumalo, Hermosa, Bataan.

I have learned that Martinez has been experiencing harassments and other human rights violations such as trumped up charges and threats to safety and life since 2009.

I have also learned that only recently, Martinez again experienced harassment in the form of intimidation – that during his work in following up cases filed at the Commission of Human Rights, Martinez was allegedly followed by two unidentified men who may be hired by the Litton family and that the deed has been done in relation to the ongoing land dispute between SANAMABASU and Riverforest Development Corporation.

I express my grave concern that Martinez is continuously harassed in line with his effort to provide assistance and justice to the farmers and residents of his barangay.

I am writing to ask for immediate action in favor of Barangay Captain Rolando Martinez:

1.            For the security and safety of Rolando Martinez.

2.            For the immediate and impartial investigation on continued harassment committed by Riverside Development Corporation owned by the Litton Family.

3.            For the perpetrators be held accountable for their actions against Rolando Martinez.

4.            For the provision of fair and impartial assistance by the police in the area.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

_______________________

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

1.      His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III

President, Republic of the Philippines

Malacanang Palace

JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila

1005 Philippines

Tel: +6327356201/5641451 to 80

Email: corres@op.gov.ph/opnet@ops.gov.ph

2.      Hon. Leila M. De Lima

Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)

Padre Faura Street

Ermita, Manila

1000 Philippines

Fax: +63 2 523 9548

Tel: +63 2 521 1908

Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / doj.delima@gmail.com

3.      Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue

U.P. Complex, Diliman

Quezon City

Philippines

Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188

Fax: +63 2 929 0102

4.      Atty. Virgilio R. Delos Reyes

Secretary of Agrarian Reform

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City

Philippines

Tel: +02 929-34-60; +02 928-70-31

Fax: + 02 920-03-80

Email: secgildar@gmail.com

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