DAR accused of submitting false report on Hacienda, faces contempt raps
MANILA, Philippines—Farmers from Hacienda Luisita on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to cite in contempt the Department of Agrarian Reform for stating that it will only distribute 4,099 hectares to farmers instead of 4,335.60 hectares mentioned in the high court’s 2012 decision.
DAR, through the Office of the Solicitor General, stated in its report submitted to the high court that only 4,099 hectares is for distribution. They explained that they have arrived at the figure by excluding residential areas, canals, roads, firebreaks, cemetery, buffer zones, lagoons, fishponds, eroded areas and legal easements.
But the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita (Ambala) argued that the residential, canals, roads, firebreaks, cemetery, buffer zones, lagoons, fishponds, eroded areas and legal easements have already been excluded from the coverage of agrarian reform law as early as 1989.
“Thus, clearly, the DAR was submitting a false report to the Honorable Court. For such act, it committed direct contempt of court and must be punished accordingly,” it further stated in its motion.
Petitioner added that DAR also failed to immediately issue a notice of coverage of agricultural lands in the area. Despite high court’s order in 2012, the notice of coverage was only issued only on Dec. 17, 2013.
Also, AMBALA said Tarlac Development Company (TADECO) continued its bulldozing activities destroying plants and crops of the farmworkers. It has also deployed security guards to stop farmworkers from tending to their crops.
“All of those that transpired would not have happened if the DAR only performed its mandate to cover all other agricultural lands of the hacienda,” they said pointing that DAR should be made to answer for such infraction.
The high court, in its 2012 ruling, has mandated the distribution of 4,335 hectares based on the 1989 valuation of P40,000 per hectare.
The figure was arrived at by deducting 500 hectares sold by Luisita Industrial Park Corporation (LIPCO) and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and 80 hectares expropriated for Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)
Former Chief Justice Renato Corona attributed the high court’s ruling on Hacienda Luisita as the reason behind his impeachment.
The vast sugarland is owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III.
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