Friday, March 19, 2010

Aquinos Have No Right To Sell Hacienda Luisita

Sentro para sa Tunay na
Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA)
20-C Maaralin St.,
Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City Telefax 434-6957

March 16, 2010

Reference: ATTY. JOBERT ILARDE PAHILGA, Executive Trustee

Noynoy is either confused or lying; Aquinos have no right to sell Hacienda Luisita

The statement of presidential candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino that they would have earned billions of pesos if they had sold Hacienda Luisita belies his claim that he has only less than 1% share in it. This only shows that Aquino has not been upright all along on the Luisita issue according to Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, the Executive Trustee of Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA) and lawyer of the farm workers of the hacienda.

As owners of the land, the Aquinos would have been paid by the government for its value but they opted to place the same under the Stock Distribution Option. This only shows that they have no intention to let go of their control of the land.

According to Pahilga, since the hacienda has been covered by the agrarian reform program, ownership over the same should have been transferred to the farmworkers. Hence, the family of Senator Aquino could not just sell the land without the consent of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the farm workers.

"The farm workers' equity in the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated is the land, which constitute 33% of the total equity of the corporation. As such, Aquino has no right to claim ownership of the land much more that they are entitled to 70% share if the land is sold" said Pahilga.

So where did Noynoy base his claim that they will have 70% share in the proceeds of the sale of the hacienda? Did he forget his earlier claim that he and his family have only minor share in the hacienda?

"The problem with Senator Aquino is that he is evading the Hacienda Luisita issue and his act of evasion has only immersed him in statements that indicate that he is either confused or lying.

If he said that they can sell the land, then they can very well have it distributed to their farm workers who have been tilling the same for years. The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) has already ordered the distribution of the land to the farm workers and the revocation of the stock distribution option (SDO), yet, the family of Noynoy prevented the implementation of the order by going to the Supreme Court and asking for an injunction.

And if Senator Aquino has forgotten, it was the peoples' money that was used by his family to buy the hacienda with the condition that it should be given to the farm workers. He should not therefore claim that his family is the rightful owner of the land because it is the farm workers." Added Pahilga

"Before Senator Aquino presents his self as saviour of our country, he should first clean up the mess in his own backyard. He should first settle the Hacienda Luisita issue. His decisiveness on this issue will reflect his political will on the age-old problem of landlessness and unequal distribution of wealth besetting the country.

If he is truly concerned of the plight of the farm workers as he made himself out to be, he would have held no escapist thought about selling the land. He would have seen that their only choice is to give the land to the farm workers.