Hacienda Luisita farmworkers protest at SC en banc session in Baguio City, oppose compensation for the Cojuangco-Aquinos
More than a hundred farmers belonging to Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon) and farmworkers from Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala, Farmworkers’ Alliance in Hacienda Luisita) toured up north to Baguio City to protest at the on-going en banc session of the Supreme Court. Last week, SC spokesperson Atty. Midas Marquez announced that they would come up a decision on the Hacienda Luisita issue, including the motion filed by the Cojuangco-Aquinos demanding compensation.
“We call the attention of the Supreme Court justices to finally decide on the issue of Hacienda Luisita and decide in favor of the oppressed farmworkers, thus, for the immediate and free distribution of agricultural lands to the farmworker-beneficiaries,” Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson said.
“The issue has been dragging for so long that it has already caused conflict such as the claim of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. on the 184-hectares land at Brgy. Balete,” Canlas said.
“We travelled this far to demand the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to us farmworker-beneficiaries. With the non-finality of the decision, we are being targeted by land grabbers such as the RCBC by filing trumped-up charges to us leaders of Ambala and United Luisita Workers’ Union,” Felix Nacpil, Jr. Ambala chairperson said.
Amgl said that aside from the issue of distribution of Hacienda Luisita, the Supreme Court should dig up deeper on the issue of private claim of the Cojuangco as it is being used for their demand for compensation.
“Imagine, the Cojuangcos have scammed the government when they used public funds to acquire the hacienda, now they want to again rip the taxpayers off before they let go of the lands. This unimaginable greed could only be found from the Cojuangco-Aquinos, especially when a member of their family is at the seat of power,” Canlas said.
SC chief justice Renato Corona earlier bared that the Cojuangco-Aquinos wanted a P10-billion compensation while Cojuangco-Aquinos’ lawyer and Hacienda Luisita, Inc. spokesperson Atty. Antonio Ligon declared recently that they were only demanding P5-billion and the P10-billion amount was from associate justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s dissenting opinion.
“We remind the Supreme Court that the issue of Hacienda Luisita is not an issue of land valuation but an issue of social justice, thus, the gross history of oppression and exploitation by the Cojuangco-Aquinos on the farmworkers should be significantly considered. The Cojuangcos used its malicious influence to acquire the hacienda and now they are employing all deception and machination to rake up the highest amount of taxpayers’ money if they are unable to retain their control over the land. The Cojuangco-Aquinos should not be compensated as they accumulated inconcevable wealth from the labor of the supposed owners of the land for decades, their insatiable greed should end right now or else farmworkers and ordinary Filipinos would be worse burdened to pay the Cojuangco-Aquinos,” Canlas said. #