“As our lawyers explained, the Cojuangco’s motion is no different to what they have presented at the oral arguments, they still want offer ‘stocks’ to the FWBs and keep control over the vast lands of the hacienda. They sounded like a broken record and we are hopeful that the high court would find nothing new of their argument and keep the essence of their November 22 decision,” said Felix Nacpil, Jr., AMBALA Chairperson.
AMBALA and AMGL said that the Cojuangco’s motion suggested to implement the referendum among FWBs, giving them option to choose land or stocks, remove the 10-year moratorium of selling lands, Supreme Court not to involve with the land valuation, based the compensation at the minimum value of P1 million per hectare as what they offered with the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) project.
“This motion vindicates all our claim during the period of the oral arguments. The Cojuangco-Aquinos have shown again their greed, that they have no intention of letting go of the lands and all they think about is how to rake up money by selling them,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chairperson.
“President Aquino who claims to serve the people is useless as he continues to act as the warden of Cojuangco-Aquinos’ interests, he claims of leading the country but could not lead his very own family into giving up the hacienda so that many small farmworkers could benefit from land distribution,” he added.
Inside the hacienda, farmworkers are gearing up for broader implementation of their “bungkalan” or cultivation of the remaining agricultural lands.
“More and more farmworkers are consulting with AMBALA on how to carry out the bungkalan, such as the meeting last January 3 at Brgy. Balete attended by about 700 farmworkers. Farmworkers from almost all of the barangays inside the hacienda are very eager to start cultivation,” Nacpil said.
“No one should not prevent us from cultivation as the Supreme Court has already decided that the lands should be distributed. AMBALA is the only legitimate organization that could represent the FWBs, thus, we are now facilitating the land distribution,” he added.
On January 5, AMBALA filed the petition for cancellation of the conversion order at the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the 500-hectare lands including those claimed by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) at Brgy. Balete.
“The conversion order is deemed void as there were no improvement for 5 years since 1996, thus, we are demanding RCBC to pull-out of the hacienda,” Canlas said.
On the other hand, the groups challenged Chief Justice Renato Corona to keep his footing on the decision favoring the farmworkers and not succumb to political offensive launched by the Aquino government through the impeachment.
“We know that the Chief Justice is aware that he was being impeached mainly because of the Hacienda Luisita issue. The farmworkers believe that the president was heavily ‘scolded’ by his relatives as he was not able to prevent the SC decision favoring the farmworkers. We call for the high court to immediately junk the Cojuangco’s motion and continue with the distribution of the hacienda,” said Canlas.
“We also warn President Aquino that his attack on Corona could backfire in case his would-be appointed chief justice would reverse the decision on Hacienda Luisita and serve the interest of the Cojuangco-Aquino. We all know that ‘betrayal of public trust’ is a legal and moral basis for impeaching a president,” Canlas warned. #