Incoming SolGen ‘bad news’ for coconut farmers | Inquirer News

Incoming SolGen ‘bad news’ for coconut farmers

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 06:40 PM February 06, 2012

LUCENA CITY, Philippines—A national coalition of coconut farmers’ groups on Monday assailed the looming appointment of a former legal counsel for the food giant San Miguel Corp. (SMC) as  solicitor general.

Joann Fernandez, spokesperson of the Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan), said in an interview over the phone that the appointment of lawyer Francis Jardeleza as SolGen was “bad news” for coconut farmers who have an ownership claim case against the 20 percent SMC shares in Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco’s name. Jardeleza was former senior vice president and general counsel of SMC.

“P-Noy (President Aquino) should appoint a people’s lawyer as SolGen and not a lawyer of his uncle Danding,” said Fernandez. SMC is headed by Cojuangco, an uncle of the President.


Fernandez said they feared Jardeleza “would not lift a finger against the interest of the SMC.”


“Our struggle to regain the coco levy shares in Mr. Cojuangco’s possession has again suffered a serious blow,” she said.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced on February 3 the resignation of Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, who reportedly wanted to return to private practice.

Jardeleza is the current deputy Ombudsman for Luzon.

Coconut farmers’ organizations in the country have been seeking the return of the levy funds that were used to acquire shares of stocks in SMC.

In April last year, however, the Supreme Court affirmed a 2007 decision of the Sandiganbayan and declared that the 20-percent block of shares in SMC held by Cojuangco, which coconut farmers claimed were bought using the coco levy fund, was his “exclusive property.”

The motion for reconsideration filed by coconut farmers group on the 20-percent block of shares was not only denied but was expunged by the high tribunal.


A second motion for reconsideration filed by farmers’ groups and the Presidential Commission on Good Government last November is still pending at the SC.

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TAGS: Agriculture, Appointments, Coconut

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