Hacienda Luisita must be paid, SC orders gov’t | Inquirer News
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Hacienda Luisita must be paid, SC orders gov’t

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:44 AM April 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The decadelong saga over the distribution of Hacienda Luisita, the vast sugar plantation in Tarlac province owned by the family of former President Benigno Aquino III, must come to an end, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Voting 14-0, the high tribunal reiterated anew that Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) should be given “just compensation” for the home lots it distributed to over 6,000 farmer-beneficiaries of agrarian reform.

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In a 20-page resolution, the magistrates denied with finality the motion of two Hacienda Luisita farmers who had questioned the findings of a special audit panel that the corporate expenses of HLI were higher that the proceeds of the sale of its remaining assets.

The unanimous decision, which upheld for the second time the high court’s July 5, 2011, ruling, was promulgated on Dec. 9, 2020, but was made public only on April 26.

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Final ruling

“Clearly, the issue on HLI’s entitlement to just compensation has been squarely settled. More importantly, the court’s ruling on this matter has already become final and executory,” read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting.

“At this point, the court no longer sees any further need to clarify other matters … The court cannot allow the parties to prolong these proceedings by filing motion after motion only to perpetually deflect/delay (a legal) obligation,” it said, adding:

“Any effort to once again seek the court’s intervention on matters already settled and clarified will be viewed as mere attempts to delay the execution/implementation of the present case.”

Form a committe

As they had originally declared, the magistrates said the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) should coordinate with the Land Bank of the Philippines to determine the amount to be awarded to HLI.

The high tribunal said officials of the DAR, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), HLI and the Registry of Deeds should form a committee to gather all the necessary documents in compliance with its original decision.

In addition, the court said the amount to be awarded to HLI should be sourced from the government’s agrarian reform fund.

The payment to HLI should be based on the prevailing price in 1989 of the 4,195 hectares of land that would be given to qualified land-reform beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita.

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In its 2011 decision, the

Supreme Court said each of the 6,296 farmer-beneficiaries should be given equal shares of the home and farm lots from the once vast sugar plantation after PARC revoked HLI’s stock distribution program in 2005.

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TAGS: Hacienda Luisita, Land Reform, Supreme Court
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