Supreme Court orders farmer-tenants to reply to Luisita appeal | Inquirer News
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Supreme Court orders farmer-tenants to reply to Luisita appeal

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:09 AM January 19, 2012

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the government and farmer-tenants of Hacienda Luisita to answer an appeal for reconsideration of its November 2011 decision ordering the distribution of the 4,915.75-hectare sugar plantation in Tarlac owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III.

In an order released Wednesday, the Court gave the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), Department of Agrarian Reform and the groups Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita and Farmworkers Agrarian Reform Movement to submit their comment on the motion for reconsideration filed by Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) last month.

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The Luisita case was one of the issues tackled by the justices who resumed their session the other day after their holiday recess. The Court’s November decision recalled and set aside the stock distribution option offered by HLI to the farmer-worker beneficiaries.

The justices unanimously agreed that the contested land should be distributed by HLI to the original 6,296 farmer-beneficiaries pursuant to an order of the PARC in December 2005. The Court also directed the HLI to pay the original farmer-worker beneficiaries their share of over P1.33 billion the corporation earned from selling a 500-hectare portion of the land estate.

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The HLI, in its appeal, sought clarification on the amount to be paid to the farmers and likewise and also asked the high tribunal to bring back to the original beneficiaries the individual option to choose whether or not they still want to remain stockholders of HLI and lift the 10-year prohibition on the sale of the awarded lands.

Through lawyer Maria Estela Ares, HLI—dominated by the Cojuangco clan, the maternal relatives of President Aquino—asked for a new determination of the reckoning period from which the computation of compensation will be based.

‘Conspiracy’

HLI said it would also ask Chief Justice  Renato Corona to inhibit himself from the case. Corona earlier claimed his current impeachment case stemmed from the Court’s  decision on this matter. He said Aquino conspired with his allies in Congress to impeach the Chief Justice.

On the other hand, the farmers’ group Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) asked the High Court to stand firm on its order and deny HLI’s appeal.

UMA said the justices should not to be affected by Corona’s impeachment case in resolving their case with finality.

UMA described the HLI’s petition for Corona’s inhibition on the Hacienda Luisita as “a farce and vain attempt to overturn the Supreme Court decision (in favor of) the distribution of Hacienda Luisita.”

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TAGS: agrarian reform, DAR, Hacienda Luisita, Judiciary, Supreme Court
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