Charges vs Tinang 83 dismissed by Tarlac court

·Contributor
·2 min read
The Tinang 83 farmers and agrarian reform advocates and beneficiaries of Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac assemble outside a court in Capas, Tarlac, on Friday, June 17, 2022. (Photo: Bagong Alyansang Makabayan/Facebook)
The Tinang 83 farmers and agrarian reform advocates and beneficiaries of Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac assemble outside a court in Capas, Tarlac, on Friday, June 17, 2022. (Photo: Bagong Alyansang Makabayan/Facebook)

A trial court in Tarlac has dismissed the malicious mischief and illegal assembly charges against the farmers and advocates known as the Tinang 83 who were arrested in Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac.

Judge Antonio Pangan of the 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Capas-Bamban-Concepcion granted the Tinang 83’s motion to quash the information against them, on the basis of the court’s lack of jurisdiction over an agrarian dispute, and the state prosecutor’s lack of evidence that will constitute illegal assembly.

According to the court’s ruling, “the responding police officers who arrested the accused were not able to confiscate, nor presented to this Court to serve as prima facie evidence, any firearm from any of the accused.”

“Without the so-called ‘smoking gun’, such baseless allegations will not support the requirement of sufficiency of ‘the acts or omissions complained as constituting an offense’,” the court further pointed out.

With regards to the malicious mischief charge, the court ruled that the farmers’ certificate of land ownership award is enough proof that they have claims over the said property.

Malayang Kilusang Samahang Magsasaka ng Tinang (MAKISAMA-Tinang) welcomes the ruling of the court, saying that it is a proof that fighting for the right to own the land that they have been tilling for many years is justified.

[A]ng krimen ay ang magkait ng karapatan sa pagbubungkal sa pamamagitan ng pagtatago ng aming CLOA Title. Ang krimen ay ang paggamit ng posisyon ng gobyerno para mapanatili ang gahamang interes sa lupa na hindi sa panginoong maylupa, kundi para dapat sa mga maralitang magsasaka,” the group said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Tinang 83’s legal counsel, Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, said that while they are elated by the news, the battle is far from over, as there are still several charges against Tinang 83 pending before the court.

He also stressed that while their win might be considered a victory, farmers remain landless, and called on the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for a swift action.

“Despite this initial success, the farmers still do not have full control and access over their lands. We call on the [DAR] to immediately install the farmers since there is no longer any reason not to. The farmers should enjoy the land and the harvests thereon being the legitimate owners thereof. The Cooperative should also be made liable for its use of the land for almost 26 years without paying a single centavo to the farmers,” Atty. Pahilga added.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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