Category: hacienda luisita

year-end gripes, and a dream

parang not since the impeachment trial of erap 2000-2001 has the holiday break been so politically charged.

the outrageous hike in meralco bills continues to jolt especially because the supreme court’s 60-day TRO came too late for some customers who have already paid their december bills.  energy regulatory commission, sleeping on the job?  or just happy for the power industry that’s raking in such profits?  vested interests maybe?  bakit ngayon lang naisip yang bid price cap sa spot market?  what’s going on?  testing our limits?

and what about energy sec petilla’s resignation kuno for failing to fully restore electricity to yolanda-ravaged provinces…  for a while there ka-excite-excite the prospect of petilla taking up the cudgels for oppressed electricity consumers vs power oligarchs, but that fizzled out soon enough, pa-cute lang pala, knowing full well that the president would not let him go?  nakakainit ng ulo, nakakainis, to find that he’s just another traditional politico with a moist eye on the palace, or first the senate?

and what about the Tarlac Devt Corp, said to be the manager of Hacienda Luisita, bulldozing farmlands (that farmers have been farming for years), claiming that the land belongs to TADECO and not part of the Hacienda luisita area ordered distributed by the supreme court.  ganoon?  if it has long been farmed by the farmers who claim it, and they have papers showing no other claimants since, what claim does TADECO have on the land?  sino bang may-ari niyang TADECO na yan?  hindi ba ang mga cojuango rin na may-ari ng Hacienda Luisita?  whatever, whoever, it’s a case that should be settled in court, according to the agrarian reform law, and not with bulldozing strong-arm tactics.

and what about the binay brouhaha aka dasmagate…  as though the binays, like most politicos since forever, have not always behaved this way, what are they in power for, and all that jazz.  what was unusual was that the security guards said no, and yet not one in media has told us with certitude that it was because they did not recognize the mayor (and why not? hindi sila taga-makati?), or they recognized him but weren’t told the rules re VIPs until after the incident.  it would also help to know if this was the first time the mayor tried to exit through this gate before, or if he had done it countless times and never had a problem.  come on, media, level up naman.  and you might want to check out a rumor that dasma has opted to change security agencies anyway?  i’d love to hear that it’s not true.

and speaking of binay the mayor, what about the hate campaign crackling on social media vs binay the veep, patriarch of an entrenched dynasty, who would (intends to) be prez in 2016.  nakaka-freak out naman talaga the prospect of a binay presidency, with abigail in the lower house and nancy in the senate.  kulang na lang, mga alipores sa judiciary.  yari tayo, ika nga.  from the frying pan into the fire.

unless, of course, tamaan ng nakaliliwanag na kidlat si jejomar binay, ala saul sa damascus, at ma-convert siya back to human rights advocacy, as in the days of marcos (before cory made him officer-in-charge of makati, what a plum prize).  full circle.  abigail, junjun, and nancy would resign out of delicadeza, and in support of their father’s new politics, anti-poverty, anti-corruption, anti-patronage, anti-status quo, pro-environment, for a change.

a pipe dream, yes, but if there’s one who could make it happen, it’s binay, if he only cared enough for this bayang sawi of ours.

hacienda luisita: 1,527 hectares still owned by cojuangcos

everyone was expecting pained remarks from the aquino-cojuangco camp after the supreme court ruled that compensation is to be based on 1989 valuations.  but, nothing.  i wondered if maybe because they had read alex magno’s “Hacienda” where he says The price for the blood-soaked land is probably ridiculously low. That might be what social justice requires. 

Recall that the agreement in the fifties, in exchange for government financing acquisition of the hacienda, was for the landowners to distribute the land to the farmers by 1968. Since that time, the matter was tied up in litigation.

It will probably take at least a year for the land to be actually redistributed. That means that all of 45 years was lost to the farmers fighting this case in the courts.

Any day added to the waiting and any peso added to the price of the land will be an injustice. A more militant position on this issue might have pegged land prices at their 1968 levels — the year the land was supposed to have been redistributed.

In addition, a portion of Luisita land was sold earlier by its owners to a private company. The farmers, who have been stockholders in the meantime, demand a share of the proceeds from that sale. Hacienda Luisita claims the money made from the sale have all been expended. But if the farmers deserve a share of that, the amount due them might be discounted from what they have to amortize from here on.

or maybe they read solita collas-monsod’s “Screwed coming and going” where she points out that in 1989 the cojuangcos used that same 40,000 per hectare valuation which gave the family absolute control of the new corporation, Hacienda Luisita Inc., and the farmers only one-third ownership.

which is really some kind of poetic justice, no?  but wait.  tila unfinished, incomplete, ang justice, after all.  read mareng winnie’s punchline.

Remember: The total land area of Hacienda Luisita that should have been subjected to agrarian reform was 6,443 hectares, but the actual area reformed was 4,916 hectares. Which means that the owners of Tadeco, with the approval of the DAR, were allowed to keep for themselves 1,527 hectares of land.

That’s a heck of a lot of land. Even if one deducts 66 hectares that supposedly comprise the sugar mill land, 263 hectares supposedly unfit for agriculture, 266 hectares of roads and creeks, and 121 hectares “given” to the farmers for home lots, there would still be 811 hectares of land left for the owners of Tadeco.

Eight hundred eleven hectares of land is larger than most of the other sugar plantations in the country.

Which leads to the question: Shouldn’t the DAR reform that land, too? The original decision of the Supreme Court gives it the authority to do so. I sincerely hope that Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil de los Reyes is made of stern stuff.

wow.  ang coconut and rice lands, someone correct me if i’m wrong, 7 hectares lang ang puwedeng i-retain ng landowner.  ano ba yan, iba pang kaso?  talaga naman.  pahirapan.  state of the nation.

corona impeachment is to save hacienda luisita?

i thought the house of reps was working on impeaching supreme court justice mariano del castillo for plagiarism.  as it turns out, that was just a distraction.  behind the scenes, the reps (188! medyo o.a.)were working pala on the impeachment of bigger, nay, the biggest, fish, chief justice renato corona.  phnoy’s valte and rep. tupas et al can deny it all they want, but clearly the prez was behind it — i just heard him gloating on anc as he addressed house allies — and it’s quite believable, as edcel lagman claims, that many reps signed to make sure they get their pork barrel next year (ay, shades of gma) and, of course, marami sa kanila ay pumoposisyon for the basbas of phnoy sa 2013 elections.

blogs carlos conde:

According to this story from @moveph and the venerable @glendamgloria … President Aquino’s recent attacks against the Supreme Court were calculated, designed to prepare the public for the possible impeachment of the “last Arroyo holdout,” Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona, whose court the Aquino administration has accused of being obstructionist in its fight against corruption.

The strategy is brilliant: to make Corona’s impeachment in Congress easier (given that Filipino politicians respond better to the supposed public pulse than the law and the Constitution), he must first be impeached from the public mind.

and like caloy i suspect that it’s not all just about gma but also about hacienda luisita:

But before I can believe that all of this is for good governance and against corruption and all that, let me make a simple challenge, one that will remove a huge doubt on the motives of the president:

The government should first implement the Supreme Court order on Hacienda Luisita and distribute the land to farmer-beneficiaries. (Distribute it, that is, as ordered by the high court. So none of that higher land valuation and more beneficiaries gambit by Hacienda Luisita Inc.) This time, actually distribute the land. Immediately. Before any Supreme Court impeachment happens.

The next Corona-less Supreme Court should no longer have to handle the Luisita case. Changing the composition of the Supreme Court and then letting this new court decide on the Luisita case is no different from packing the jury. No different, in fact, from Arroyo packing the Supreme Court with her own appointees.

If the government cannot or will not distribute the crown jewel of Aquino’s family before of all of this Corona contretemps comes to a head, all of this is suspect.

i hear the pressure is on for corona to resign a la merceditas and save us all the trouble of a senate trial.  i’m hoping corona doesn’t cave in.  i want to hear his defense.

the question of course is, who will phnoy appoint in his place.  pinoyexchange forum‘s fearless forecast: antonio carpio: “alam na ni Carpio ang gagawin niya”.  abangan.

phnoy & kris: feeling entitled (updated)

“In agrarian reform, there are two objectives: number one, empower the farmers so that they could have their own land to till. Second, don’t exhaust the capital. There should be just compensation for the land owner. The capital that will be returned to the landowner could be used to invest in other endeavors,” he said.

“The two objectives should have been met. One sector should not be favored over the other,” he added.

that’s the prez’s statement on the SC decision ordering the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the farmers.  he wants just compensation for the family.  daang matuwid?  he should read stephanie dychiu’s history of the hacienda buttressed by james putzel’s 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines.

In 1957, Magsaysay talked to Ninoy Aquino about the possibility of Ninoy’s father-in-law, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. acquiring Central Azucarera de Tarlac and Hacienda Luisita from the Spaniards. The Spaniards wanted to sell because of the Huk rebellion and chronic labor problems. [emphasis mine] Jose Cojuangco, Sr. received significant preferential treatment and assistance from the government to facilitate his takeover of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 1957.

…To acquire a controlling interest in Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Cojuangco had to pay the Spaniards in dollars. He turned to the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York for a 10-year, $2.1 million loan. Dollars were tightly regulated in those times. To ease the flow of foreign exchange for Cojuangco’s loan, the Central Bank of the Philippines deposited part of the country’s international reserves with the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York.

The Central Bank did this on the condition that Cojuangco would simultaneously purchase the 6,443-hectare Hacienda Luisita, “with a view to distributing this hacienda to small farmers in line with the Administration’s social justice program.” (Central Bank Monetary Board Resolution No. 1240, August 27, 1957).

To finance the purchase of Hacienda Luisita, Cojuangco turned to the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System). His application for a P7 million loan said that 4,000 hectares of the hacienda would be made available to bonafide sugar planters, while the balance 2,453 hectares would be distributed to barrio residents who will pay for them on installment.

The GSIS approved a P5.9 million loan, on the condition that Hacienda Luisita would be “subdivided among the tenants who shall pay the cost thereof under reasonable terms and conditions”. (GSIS Resolution No. 1085, May 7, 1957; GSIS Resolution No. 3202, November 25, 1957)

Later, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. requested that the phrase be amended to “. . . shall be sold at cost to tenants, should there be any” (GSIS Resolution No. 356, February 5, 1958). This phrase would be cited later on as justification not to distribute the hacienda’s land.

…“Ang pagkakaintindi ng mga ninuno naming manggagawang-bukid ng Hacienda Luisita noon, within 10 years, babayaran na [ng mga Cojuangco] ang utang nila sa gubyerno. Pagdating ng 1967, ang lupa ay sa magsasaka na (The way our elders, the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, understood things at that time, within 10 years, the Cojuangcos were going to pay back the money they borrowed from the government. By 1967, the land would belong to the farmers),” says Lito Bais, one of the present-day leaders of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU). Bais was born on the hacienda in 1957, the year before the Cojuangco family took over. His mother was also born on the hacienda.

read also ronalyn v. olea‘s Farmers slam Aquino’s call for ‘just compensation’ for Hacienda Luisita land

“It is the height of callousness that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III now has the gall to demand for land compensation for his extended family,” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said.

Mariano, also chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said that since 1957, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan “has made a milking cow out of Hacienda Luisita sugar estate and amassed wealth by exploiting farmers and farmworkers.”

In 1957, the Cojuangcos acquired the Hacienda Luisita land through a government loan with a condition that the land shall be distributed to the farmers after ten years. Land distribution never took place until now.

“The nerve,” KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis said, “They have used government money to acquire the hacienda in the late 1950’s and have made a fortune for more than half a century now. And now, they want the government to pay for the land.”

and winnie monsod‘s SC’s downslide and verdict on Hacienda Luisita

Concurring and dissenting opinions were written by Corona (that the stock distribution option should be declared unconstitutional—and I think he has the right of it), Bersamin, Sereno (who thinks that the landowners must be compensated at current market value and not at the value prevailing in 1989) and Brion who, bless his heart (although it doesn’t make up for the fact that he did not stand up for his decision in the Fasap case), also wanted that the FWBs should be paid rentals for the use and possession of their land starting Nov. 21, 1989.

Corona’s opinion, in particular, had some great prose regarding the principles of genuine agrarian reform and social justice.

But suspicions still arise, ranging, on one end, that the Corona Court is doing this to get back at P-Noy; and, on the other end, that the decision actually contains poison pill provisions that will redound to the benefit of the landowners and the disadvantage of the farmers.

and what about this business of cory and noynoy divesting shares.  read ninez cacho olivaresMoral and honest?

It was claimed, in 1987, when the Cory Constitution was in place and with a new Congress elected, that Cory had already divested her hacienda shares.

When she had divested her shares, and to whom, was never bared by her and her then Malacañang.

Under the divestment law, the shares, when divested, cannot be divested, through sale or donation, to any relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity.

What this means, in the case of Cory, is that she was barred by the law to divest her hacienda shares to any of her brothers and sisters, or even her children, or any relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity.

So, if she had truly divested her shares, to whom did she sell or donate them?

What it looks like today is that despite Cory having claimed that she had already divested her shares in Hacienda Luisita, she never did.

This was evident after Cory died and the inheritance thing had to come about.

It was being claimed by Noynoy, through his spokesman as well as his lapdog senators, that Noynoy’s share in the hacienda was minimal, as he merely owns one-fifth out of one-sixth of the total shares that would have gone to him and his sisters. This was said in a bid to downplay Noynoy’s personal interest in the hacienda ruling by the high court.

Noynoy’s spokesman even went further. He claimed that Noynoy had already divested his shares, following the law. In other words, the claim was that Noynoy had no interest at all left in the hacienda, which from all indications is a bare-faced lie.

What is being forgotten by the Palace and its puppies in Congress, is the fact that if Cory, as she claimed then, had already divested her shares, neither one of her children — all five of them — could have inherited her shares. Because if true, given the law on divestments of the President and even the Cabinet members, how then could her children have inherited her shares, if she had divested them, and to non-relatives?

It stands to reason that even the “sainted” Cory had lied about having divested her shares.

Now the son also says he has already divested his hacienda shares. Again it is asked: If he has done so, to whom were the shares divested? When were they divested and for how much were the shares sold?

and now here’s kris, who on nationwide tv used to flash jewelry na katas daw ng hacienda luisita, on twitter:

@itsmekrisaquinoKris Aquino We respect the Supreme Court, we survived even when they took everything from us, including our Dad’s life- & we will survive even this.

feeling api siya.  what a scream.  to top it all, hacienda luisita seems mortgaged to the hilt.  read miriam grace a. go’s Family’s wealth depends on Noynoy’s presidency.

HLI does not have enough money to pay its obligations. For every P1 worth of assets, the amount of its obligation is almost double at P1.74.

i wouldn’t be surprised if the SC decision is for naught (or at least will require so much further litigation) because HLI is, it would seem, already bankrupt.  na-ilabas na ang pera, at na-mortgage na ang lupa, at wala nang itinira, correct me if i’m wrong.  say ng isang cassandra:

how do you shame the cojuangcos to do the right thing? if kris is representative, you can’t.