SC: Hacienda Luisita has completed obligation to farmers on lot sales
The Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) has fully complied with the Supreme Court’s order issued seven years ago to distribute to more than 6,000 farmworker beneficiaries (FWBs) the unused or unspent balance from the P1.33 billion sale of its three lots to private and government entities.
In a two-page resolution, made public Wednesday, the high court noted that the three-member audit panel formed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) concluded that there was no longer any unspent or unusued balance of the sales proceeds available for distribution to the farmer beneficiaries.
On July 5, 2011, the high court ordered HLI to pay the original 6,296 Hacienda Luisita farmworker beneficiaries the following sums:
- the P500 million that it received from Luisita Realty, Inc. for the sale of 200 hectares out of the 500 hectares covered by the Aug. 14, 1996 conversion order
- the P750 million received by its owned subsidiary, Centennary Holdings, Inc., for the sale of the remaining 300 hectares of the said 500-hectare lot to Luisita Industrial Park Corporation
- the P80.5 million paid by the government through the Bases Conversion Development Authority for the sale of the 80.51-hectare lot used for the construction of the SCTEX road
In the same ruling, the high court also ordered the DAR to hire a reputable accounting firm approved by the parties to audit the books of HLI and Centennary Holdings, Inc. to determine if the P1,330,511,500 proceeds of the sale of the three lots were actually used or spent for legitimate corporate purposes.
“To sum up, all three members of the audit panel have determined that the legitimate corporate expenses of HLI for the years 1998 up to 2011, coupled with the taxes and expenses related to the sale of the 3 percent share already distributed to the FWBs, far exceeded the proceeds of the sale of the adverted 580.51-hectare lot,” the high court said.
“In net effect, there is no longer any unspent or unused balance of the sales proceeds available for distribution,” the high court said. /atm
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