JR Lopez Gonzales 5:05 PM 1
After long and winding controversial decisions that span decades, the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines has finally voted for the distribution of lands to farmers (14-0). The owners of the Hacienda Luisita, Incorporated (HLI) in Tarlac will be paid with the farmland's 1989 rates as just compensation, Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said in a press statement in Baguio a few hours earlier.
|Victory, at last!|
The SC voted 8-6 and ruled for the P40,000 per hectare payment for the controversial landholding, its value in 1989. Seven justices plus Chief Justice Renato Corona, voted to use the valuation used in 1989. Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Roberto Abad, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, and Martin Villarama also voted to base compensation not on the 2006 rates.
Supreme Court Justices Lucas Bersamin, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Roberto Abad,Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Bienvenido Reyes, Mariano Del Castillo, and Diosdado Peralta, meanwhile, voted to have a lower court assess value of the hacienda, Marquez said.
The Hacienda Luisita is second largest single piece of contiguous land in the Philippines next to that of the Yulo’s in Laguna . It measures 6,435 hectares located in the province of Tarlac owned by the Cojuangco Family, the relatives of President Benigno Aquino III. It is ‘as large as the cities of Makati and Pasig combined’ .
It can be noted that during the time of Cory Aquino, she implemented the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in 1988, a Philippine state policy that ensures and promotes welfare of landless farmers and farm workers, as well as elevation of social justice and equity among rural areas.
The agrarian reform law was expanded to accommodate landowner desire for a stock distribution option (SDO) to supplant actual land transfer. The extensive Aquino property was promptly placed under SDO which disabled the distribution option.
|Yes, that's the Hacienda Luisita Mall right there.|
It was a sweet victory that the farmers have waited after more than half-a-century of picketing that sometimes ending to massacres . The Cojuangco family, however, had been asking for compensation of around P1 million per hectare, or around P5 billion, from the government.
 Arsenio Acuña, lawyer and planter representative, actually said that Land reform is the biggest menopausal blunder of this President (referring to Corazon Aquino). In Putzel’s A Captive Land, 270.