“Buenavista 5” freed 7 years after prison

THE celebrated “Buenavista 5,” referring to five peasants who were accused of double murder in barangay Montana, Buenavista town, were freed October 8, 2010 following the court found them not guilty of the crime, said the statement of Hugpong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon signed by its secretary-general Danilo Olayvar.

The Benavista 5 were Antonio Sanchez, chairman of the Buenvsita Farmers Association (BUFA), Edwin Lofranco, Elpidio Tagsip, Rodrigo Mejias, and Ruben Busalanan, who were languishing in jail from Ferbaury 5, 2003 to the time they were released, said the statement. BUFA is a member organization of HUMABOL.

The accusations against the farmers of killing the barangay captain and a tanod by military forces are unfounded and without bases even if the New Peoples Army had taken responsibility of the said killing, said the statement.

On their release at about 3 PM of October 8, 2010, the freed farmer-leaders were met by their families and HUMABOL and Bagong Alyansa ng Bayan leaders, it said.

HUMABOL said that the release of the farmers was a triumph of justice and militant farmers organizations. This also means that the cases filed by military agents are meant to rattle and put a stop of the militant movement of the countrysides, it added.

Humabol pointed out that the attempt to quell the farmer’s movement and the political killings believed to be perpetrated by government forces do not weaken their resolve to continue their struggle especially in the genuine land reform program.

Meanwhile, the killings of their former comrade Victor Olayvar in Danao town and Mario Auxilio in Bien-Unido town market, all were farmer leaders and organizers, remain unsolved, a separate statement bared.

HUMABOL scored on the law enforcement authorities for alleged inaction in running after the perpetrators of Olayvar and Auxilio’s killings. (RVO)

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