28 June 2010
References: Rep. Kaka Bag-ao (+639088849546)
Josel Gonzales (+639276409726)
Midnight conversion of Arroyo Hacienda: a mark of GMA’s legacy of corruption, manipulation and impunity says new Akbayan solon
“Ang kapal talaga, nag-eempake na lang paalis ng Malakanyang gumawa pa ng kababalaghan” is how newly- proclaimed Akbayan Representative Kaka Bag-ao reacted to the last minute attempt to convert Hacienda Bacan, a property of the Arroyo family in Negros Occidental. She called the “midnight land conversion” attempt of the 157-hectare Arroyo property located at Isabela, Negros Occidental symptomatic of GMA’s legacy of corruption and manipulation.
“Even up to her final days in office President Arroyo remains corrupt and manipulative. Instead of doing something decent for people to remember her by, she opted to do what she has always done as president since day one – manipulate, maneuver and co-opt. The attempt to exempt the Arroyo-owned Hacienda Bacan in Negros Occidental from agrarian reform via a “midnight land conversion” unmasks the legacy of corruption and manipulation of the Arroyo administration. I have fought this kind of impunity from the Arroyo while she was president, I will continue to do so now that we are equals in the House of Representative” Congw. Bag-ao said.
Congw. Bag-ao, the legal counsel of the Sumilao farmers who joined their 1,700 km. march from Sumilao to Manila in 2007, said that among the reforms incorporated in the CARPER law is the prohibition of land conversion.
“President Arroyo seems to forget that the CARP Extension with Reforms Law (RA 9700) she signed into law only last August 7, 2009 forbids land conversion. The most decent thing that outgoing DAR Sec. Nasser Pangandaman can do is to follow the mandate of the CARPER Law and reject outright the Arroyo’s application for conversion. At the very least Sec. Pangandaman should not allow himself to be part of this ‘midnight land conversion’ and spend his last two days in office issuing an order rejecting the conversion of Hacienda Bacan and other land conversion applications. Or if he cannot go against the will of his President, doing nothing on the application for two days would not be very difficult” she said.
The CARPER law is one of the legacy legislation of outgoing Akbayan partylist Representative Risa Hontiveros. “Rep. Hontiveros, together with the farmers and agrarian reform advocates fought hard to pass CARPER, together with Rep. Walden Bello, it is our duty and the commitment of our party, Akbayan, to ensure that the law will be implemented and that protect from abuses such as this midnight conversion. It is likewise our responsibility to do our share in ensuring that the campaign promise of Pres. Noynoy Aquino of implementing agrarian reform to its completion will become a reality” she added. ###