Atty. Romeo “Ka Romy” Capulong: defender of peasant rights, genuine land reform activist, man of peace

Andres Agtalon
Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (NDFP)
September 19, 2012

The Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM), allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), renders the highest tribute and revolutionary salute to Attorney Romeo “Ka Romy” Capulong – defender of peasant rights, genuine land reform activist, and man of peace.

As one of the country’s topnotch human rights lawyer, everyone knows that Ka Romy defended peasant leaders against political persecution and fascist attacks of the reactionary state. Ka Romy handled high-profile political persecution cases like the trumped up rebellion charge against the “Batasan 6” and progressive leaders of the peoples’ movement. Ka Romy also denounced the fabricated lies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against progressive leaders and consultants of the NDFP in the so-called “mass graves” exposing such lies as “the case of travelling skeletons” in Innopacan, Leyte.

Born of humble peasant origin, Ka Romy dedicated his life in serving the people and defending farmers in their legal struggle to assert their rights to the land. In the mid 90’s, Ka Romy linked arms with the more than 10,000 farmers of Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas in defending their rights to the 8,650-hectare lands and against the land-grabbing of Fil-Estate Properties, Inc. and Manila Southcoast Development Corporation.

Ka Romy also handled pro bono the most controversial agrarian dispute in the country, the Hacienda Luisita land dispute, involving more than 6,000 hectares of sugar lands that led to the farm workers’ initial legal victory. It is in this case that he earned the ire of the most politically influential landlord class in the country, President Aquino’s family or the Cojuangco-Aquinos of Tarlac, which the peasant movement suspects to be behind the surveillance and assassination plots against Ka Romy after the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004.

As an advocate of genuine land reform, Ka Romy brought the peasantry’s issues and struggle in the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines (GPH). He consistently fought for the need of a truly distributive and genuine land reform program in the social and economic reforms agenda of the peace talks.

Ka Romy is one with the peasantry in fighting land monopoly and the continuing feudal exploitation and oppression that remains as the root causes of the armed conflict in the countryside. And, like the revolutionary peasantry, Ka Romy believes that genuine agrarian reform, the distribution of lands to landless tillers, will pave the way to the resolution of the armed conflict in the countryside. For him, genuine land reform is the road to peace.

Ka Romy will surely be missed by farmers in the legal struggle but the PKM-NDFP and the revolutionary peasantry in the countryside will continue Ka Romy’s aspirations for genuine land reform by advancing the national democratic revolution to a new and higher level until complete victory is achieved.

Turn our grief into revolutionary courage!
Long Live Atty. Romeo “Ka Romy” Capulong!
Abogado ng Bayan, Lumaban! Makibaka!