Lumbia Carp farmers win TRO against developers

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/2 March) – Members of the Palalan Carp Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (PCFMPC) in Sitio Palalan, Brgy. Lumbia this city has secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) against their former chairperson and developers from Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court Wednesday.

The TRO stems from urgent motion of the PCFMPC for the court to restrain the group of Beverly Domo, erstwhile chairperson of PCFMPC, lawyer Elmer dela Rosa and Diana Biron from using force and intimidation against members of the PCFMPC who are opposed to the sale of the 111-hectare land.

The RTC found merit in the testimony of agrarian reform beneficiary Leona Bermoy who testified before the court that on Feb. 15, Domo, accompanied by armed men from Dasia Security Agency, was found “roaming around the Carp area telling members of the cooperative to vacate the area or else.”

The witness also claimed that her house has been destroyed by Domo’s group.

Domo did not attend the TRO hearing last Feb. 25 despite being served by the court with a summon.

Conflict over land conversion has caused the division of the PCFMPC into three factions. Domo’s group, assisted by lawyer Florencio Narido Jr., was expelled by the PCFMPC General Assembly in March 2010 for misrepresenting the cooperative in “selling” the 111-ha Carp land for P250 million to Mt. Carmel Engineering Services.

The other faction of the agrarian reform beneficiaries, represented by lawyer Elmer Dela Rosa, were former members of the cooperative who sold their rights over the Carp land to the said lawyer. Dela Rosa had sold the land to Diana Biron, wife of Ilo-ilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, in August 2010 for P30 million.

The third faction, now headed by Andrew Donggay who was elected to replace Domo, is opposed to any land conversion of the 111-ha land.

They have filed a case for Annulment of Sale with Application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Mandatory Injunction and Damages against Domo, Dela Rosa and Biron.

Narido, Domo’s lawyer, had denied any sale of the Carp land to the Mt Carmel Engineering Services. He however admitted that they have contracted the services of Dasia Security Agency to re-assert their rights over the land after they got a favorable decision before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (Darab), Misamis Oriental last Jan. 17.

The Darab ruled that Donggay and Bermoy’s group are disqualified as agrarian reform beneficiaries. They have filed a motion for reconsideration to the Darab decision.

Lawyer Ilya Kristin Ravanera said that the “execution by Narido and Domo of the Darab decision was premature and illegal as the same Darab decision said that an eviction of demolition can only be done with the issuance of a Writ of Demolition, something that cannot be issued yet with the filing of the Motion for Reconsideration.”

A check with the Darab revealed that no Writ of Demolition to effect the Jan. 17 decision has been issued.

Donggay told MindaNews that they will ask the assistance of Cagayan de Oro City Police in enforcing the TRO today. He said that the TRO was released by the court Wednesday afternoon.

Tension and violence has prevailed in the contested land since Feb. 15.

The TRO signed by RTC Branch 17 Presiding Judge Florencia Sealana-Abbu ordered “respondent Beverly Domo or any person acting in her behalf to cease and desist from performing any act that will tantamount to harassment against members of the cooperative with the end in view of compelling them to sell their property or to be driven out from CARP-awarded piece of land.”

As a result of the violence in the area, three farmers have been reported missing since Feb. 19 –Risan Manatad, 27; Juniper Manatad, 25; and Marjun Manatad, 23. Sansin Manatad, father of the three, said that they had moved out of their land in the evening of Feb. 19.

Narido said that his group has nothing to do with the disappearance of the three. The elder Manatad, however, said that had it not been for the violent harassment by armed men contracted by Narido and Domo’s group, his children could not have been placed in harm’s way.

The Carp land in Sitio Palalan is located at the back of the Lumbia airport, at the fringe of the booming uptown where subdivisions and commercial centers abound.

The PCFMPC has developed an organic agriculture farm that supplies fresh and healthful vegetables to nearby SM Mall. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)