Luisita farmers fear SC to reverse land distribution

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    ANGELES CITY- The Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luson (AMGL) are not in the ranks of those hailing the appointment of Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice.

    They expressed fears that under Sereno, the Supreme Court would eventually reverse its decision on land distribution at Hacienda Luisita, which used to be owned by the family of Pres. Aquino since 1957.

    “Sereno as new chief justice of the Supreme Court is equal to the reversal of the high court’s decision on the Hacienda Luisita case,” the two groups said in a statement yesterday.

    They recalled that “the Supreme Court, then led by ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona, decided on November 22, 2011 to abolish the stock distribution option (SDO) and on April 24, 2012 to set the price compensating the Cojuangco-Aquinos at 1989 prices.”

    But they noted that “Sereno favored that the family of the President be compensated at prices set later in 2006 valued at P10 billion or P2.25 million per hectare for the 4,915.75-hectare remaining agricultural lands of the hacienda.”

    “We had anticipated that Aquino would appoint a string -puppet to serve the interest of his family, and we had always opposed such creation of an ‘Aquino court’ since June,” the statement said.

    AMGL chair Joseph Canlas said “We are extremely against the appointment of Sereno as it is very clear that she is a defender of the Cojuangco-Aquino family.”

    For his part, Ambala chair Rodel de Mesa said, ”We are quite dismayed that Aquino and his family are attempting to get Hacienda Luisita back.”

    Canlas said that Sereno’s appointment seemed to indicate that the President had used public funds in the ouster of Corona allegedly over the issue of Hacienda Luisita.

    AMGL and Ambala said “Sereno has been undoubtedly pro-Cojuangco-Aquino,” as they noted that Sereno’s arguments backing the higher compensation for the President’s family in the Hacienda Luisita case were used by the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) in its motion for reconsideration of the compensation issue filed on December 27 last year. This motion was later junked during the term of Corona.

    “Aquino’s appointment is a repeat of what Arroyo did during her administration in appointing a chief justice who would protect her interests. This time, an Aquino court has been created, with Hacienda Luisita as its primary agenda,” Canlas said.

    The groups’ statement said that “Sereno’s appointment is contrary to reforming the judiciary and preservation of ruling class’ interests” and “is total disregard of social justice.”

    “We should take note of Sereno’s term as chief justice for 18 years. The Cojuangco-Aquinos have a strategic plan for appointing her,” Canlas said.

    Sereno is the youngest appointed chief justice at age 52 with a term to expire on 2030, on her age of 70.

    “Aquino has bastardized the justice system in our country. He is attempting to restore his family’s control on the Hacienda Luisita, as well as of his haciendero class.

    We remind Aquino not to ignite this little spark that could lead to a big prairie fire he would not be able to extinguish,” Canlas said.

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