Kris Aquino: We’ll survive Supreme Court rulingBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Kris Aquino likens last week’s Supreme Court decision ordering the dismantling of the sugar plantation owned by the family of her late mother to the struggle for survival waged during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.
“We respect the Supreme Court decision,” the celebrity sister of President Benigno Aquino III said in her Twitter account on Saturday. “We survived even when they took everything from us, including our dad’s life, and we will survive this.”
Kris fired tweets to defend the maternal side of her family, the Cojuangcos, now on media spotlight following the November 22 court decision on the breakup of Hacienda Luisita that had been engulfed in a bloody agrarian conflict over a feudal land ownership system.
Mr. Aquino, who has said he had gotten rid of his holdings in the Luisita estate, said on Friday that he expected his family to comply with the court order to distribute 5,000 hectares of the estate to 6,200 workers tilling the sugar plantation for generations.
In her Twitter account, Kris said her father, the opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, would have marked his 79th birthday Sunday (November 27). Ninoy was incarcerated by the dictator Marcos for eight years. He was assassinated on his return home in 1983 from three years of self-exile in the United States.
“I believe P-Noy (Pres. Aquino) inherited our dad’s courage in fighting for what is lawful and just,” Kris said.
‘A beautiful story’
The 40-year-old TV and movie star said that since Hacienda Luisita was “very much in the news,” she would like to “share a beautiful story” about the estate.
Kris said that when her father was in a Marcos jail on alleged trumped-up charges of murder and subversion, her grandfather—“Lolo Pepe” Cojuangco—went to see him.
“Our dad was being offered a deal, everything that was taken away from our mom’s parents would be ‘given back’ by the Marcos regime as long as my dad signed papers admitting his guilt in the made-up charges leveled against him,” she said.
Kris said her father told her grandfather that he would sign the papers “because he didn’t want to see my grandparents suffer and lose so much.” She said her father treated her grandfather as his own father.
“Lolo Pepe told dad, ‘Ninoy, kaya namin (we can bear it). I’ll take care of Cory and the kids. You fight for what is right because we believe in you,” Kris said, recalling the conversation.
“I hope that gives most of you a clearer picture of what my mom’s family is like. How they suffered and stood with my dad and took care of us through the worst. To think Ninoy Aquino was only their in-law,” she said.
The Palace declined to comment on Kris’ revelations on Twitter.
“First of all, it’s the personal opinion of Ma’am Kris Aquino and it’s not in our function and it’s not proper for the spokesperson (to comment) on a personal opinion of Ms. Kris,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
Asked whether the President shared his sister’s view that the family will respect and survive the order, Valte said: “Whatever that is going to happen will be entirely according to the decision and to the parties involved … At this point, we will just let the event unfold.”
Told that some militant party-list lawmakers had accused Mr. Aquino of sabotaging the distribution of the lands to farmers by citing just compensation for the owners, Valte said giving just compensation to landowners was stated in the agrarian reform law and was one of the requirements under the law.
She said it would be the judiciary and not the executive branch that would determine just compensation. “So they should not blame us because we did not make that decision,” she said.
Asked whether Mr. Aquino was profarmer or profamily, she replied that this was “irrelevant” as she noted that the President had already divested his shares in the family corporation.
“He has always been forthright in saying that the decision is now the Supreme Court to make,” Valte said.
Originally posted: 9:01 pm | Sunday, November 27th, 2011