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DAR, SOLGEN contest SC ruling on Hacienda Luisita

Bat for immediate land distribution
Solicitor General Jose Anselmo 'Joel' Cadiz
Solicitor General Jose Anselmo 'Joel' Cadiz

MANILA, Philippines (July 11, 2011) – The Solicitor General (SOLGEN) and the Agrarian Reform Secretary are in unenviable position as they take on the family of their boss, the President of the Republic, in defense of the government and the farmers of Hacienda Luisita.

Solicitor General Jose Anselmo 'Joel' Cadiz and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes knew from the moment they were appointed to their posts that when the issue of the Hacienda Luisita comes up for action it is their job to defend the interest of the government and the agitated hacienda farmers, against the family of their boss, President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III.

The dreaded moment for the two gentlemen has come.

The recent ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) allows the farmer-beneficiaries to choose in a referendum between getting the shares of stocks in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Incorporated or getting the actual lands.

But based an joint analysis of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Office of the Solicitor General the more than 6,000 hectare land of the Hacienda Luisita should now be distributed to the farmer-beneficiaries without delay and the referendum should be dispensed with.

The DAR, through the Solicitor General, will contest the SC ruling, DAR Secretary delos Reyes and Solicitor General Cadiz announced in a joint press conference this morning.

"We would like for the Supreme Court to take a second look (at the ruling)," delos Reyes said.

"Ang dapat mangyari ayon sa Section 31 ng Republic Act 6657, pinawalang bisa na ang SDP (stock distribution plan) at ipamahagi na ang lupa sa mga magsasaka," the DAR chief said.

Under the Sec. 31 of RA 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 :"If within two years from the approval of this Act, the land or stock not made or realized or the plan for such stock distribution approved by the PARC (Presidential Agrarian Reform Council) within the same period, the agricultural land of the corporate owners or corporation shall be subject to the compulsory coverage of this Act."

Solicitor General Cadiz will file a motion for reconsideration before the High Court on or before July 22.

The farmers of Hacienda Luisita said they are happy about the government siding with them but they are not thankful because of the long delay they have suffered.

The management of Hacienda Luisita said they will wait for the SC decision on the SOLGEN's petition before they take action. (From, Vox Bikol)