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SC: Ruling on Luisita final; guideline for breakup out soon


06:44 PM April 24th, 2012

By: Tetch Torres, April 24th, 2012 06:44 PM

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines -The Supreme Court decision ordering the distribution of Hacienda Luisita is already final and unappealable, High Court Spokesman and Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said.

“The Supreme Court decision is final and executory. No further pleadings shall be entertained,” Marquez told reporters Tuesday.

He said the high court will issue a guideline for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to follow regarding the distribution of the lot.

Upon receipt of the high court’s ruling, DAR has to report to the Supreme Court within six months the progress of their compliance to the decision.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of almost 5,000 hectare land to farmers and fixing the valuation for just compensation to 1989 value of the land.

High Court Spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said 8 justices voted that the basis for just compensation for its 4,915.75 hectare vast sugarland plantation be the valuation of the land in 1989.

The eight justices are Chief Justice Renato Corona, Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Roberto Abad, Jose Perez. Jose Mendoza, and Martin Villarama.

The six justices who voted that the determination of valuation for just compensation be given to the Special Agrarian Court are Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Diosdado Peralta, Mariano Del Castillo, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

The high court affirmed its Nov. 22, 2011 landmark ruling which held that just compensation due Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) should be based on the valuation of the land on Nov. 21, 1989, the day the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) approved Luisita’s stock distribution option agreement (SDOA).

The court denied Hacienda Luisita Incorporated’s appeal that the court follow Sereno’s opinion that the valuation of the land should be based on current fair market value, at the time HLI was issued a Notice of Coverage on Jan. 2, 2006.

If the valuation of the land would be based on the 2006 fair market value, HLI would have to be compensated some P10 billion for the total 4,915.7466 hectares up for distribution.

Tuesday’s decision is politically charged because President Benigno Aquino III has called on the head of the Supreme Court to step down because of corruption allegations.

Chief Justice Renato Corona is fighting an impeachment trial to remove him.

He claims that the charges against him were instigated by Aquino because of the court’s rulings favoring the farmers. Aquino has denied this. He divested his share of the estate before becoming president in 2010. With a report from AP

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