Local News: Land Reform Beneficiary Charges Family with ‘Technical Landgrabbing’ Including Village Leader
A mother-and-son, both residents of Barangay Talacagay in Hinobaan town, declared yesterday, in a press conference that they were deceived into accepting cash and to sign documents which possibly indicated their intention to give up their part of the landholdings given to them by the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) through the use of deception, harassment and threats, the two said.
The complainants, Hermenia and Bernie Colasing of the same village of Hinobaan town said, since the mother is a widow having affixed signature on a still unknown document, she has been subjected to threats, intimidation and coercion in order to leave part of the 67-hectare property.
The mother and son - has since filed a complaint which they sent to the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, including abuse of authority and violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices law or under RA 3019.
In her official affidavit, Colasing said she was one of the farmer-beneficiaries identified by the DAR in Brgy. Talacagay, Hinobaan town, years ago on landholdings once owned by Maria Blanca Bilbao Beltran as part of the Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) program of the DAR.
A Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) was collectively issued in favor of Feleciano Abad and which include the Colasings, who said part of what they got from the 67-hectare landholding was about a hectare of land.
The mother-and-son said as beneficiaries, they have been occupying the land since 1997 or about 15 years.
Continuing, Herminia Colasing said, that last May 7, this year Tacdoro visited them in their house and started badgering them to leave the property. This was possibly a result of the elder Colasing receiving money and signing documents she did not understand.
Lawyer Nilo Sorbito, the legal counsel of the Colasings, said Tacdoro’s claim was that she had bought the property from the Colasings.
Tacdoro’s action was done in behalf of the Khey family who are obviously interested in the land for whatever reason they have.
Tacdoro has been heartless knowing as she does that the Colasings do not have a place they can transfer to, added Sorbito.
The land planted to coconuts, bananas and trees are their sole means of livelihood.
It is obviously one Ramon Khey who is ordering Tacdoro to eject the Colasings.
Yesterday, as they prepared to leave for Bacolod to air their side before the media, one Iris Maestrecampo from the MARO office tried to prevail upon them to stay put yet, as she was supposedly preparing to investigate their complaints.
Sorbito says cases like these usually happen in countryside areas, where landgrab-bing has been the norm in especially valuable property.
But he, as the lawyer and the Colasings, will not leave the case at that.*