SC rules in favor of Hacienda Luisita workers

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Hacienda Luisita farmer. Photo by KR Guda
Photo by KR Guda

MANILA (25-April-2012) – The Supreme Court had turned down the Hacienda Luisita, Inc.’ s (HLI) counsel’s motion for clarification and reconsideration and affirmed its first decision made last year, ordering the family of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to distribute the disputed land to 6,296 farmworker- beneficiaries (FWBs).

However, the FWBs said they are not lowering their flags since they have this “bad” feeling that President Aquino and his family will not take the decision “lightly”.

In an e-mail sent to CBCPNews, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) secretary general and also an HLI worker for years, Rodel Mesa said it is not good to be complacent since the decision is still on paper and the lands are not yet distributed.

Mesa said that the President and his family should be courteous enough to respect the High Court’s decision and not make any move to hamper the distribution of the land, which the farmers should have owned more than 50 years ago, had the older Cojuangco, Jose Sr., strictly followed the loan agreement with the GSIS and an American credit company when he bought the hacienda in 1958.

Meanwhile, UMA chair Lito Bais said that the SC should also issue a marching order to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to expedite the distribution process and to make the ownership of the land by the legitimate FWBs, legal.

“DAR should take the initiative to execute its mandate and prepare the requirements needed for the swift transfer of ownership of the Luisita estate. The Supreme Court had decided; they cannot go with the same lame excuse that the case is still pending at the high court just like they always answer when[ever] the farm workers conduct dialogues with DAR officials,” said Bais.

The peasant leader said President Aquino should not take the SC decision as a form of “vengeance” by the high court against him nor to his family, but rather, a kind of “justice that should have been served long time ago.”

“The farm workers have no debt of gratitude to Mr. Corona or to any other justices of the High Court, for distributing Hacienda Luisita to its beneficiaries. It was our collective effort that made them see that it was the right and just thing to do,” he said. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]

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