In a 14-0 decision, the Supreme Court en banc has affirmed its previous rulings on the issue of the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to the farmers. Promulgated at the Supreme Court office in Baguio City, the high court upheld its rulings last July 5,2011 and Nov 22, 2011 giving the farmers the right to own the land that they till.
Now the the SC have decided and its assumed to be final and executory, the 4,900 hectares of lands will now be distributed to the 6,296 farm workers beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita Inc. It can be remembered that on Nov. 22 the Supreme Court revoked HLI’s stock distribution plan. It ruled that all of Luisita’s agricultural lands should be awarded to the farm workers thus junking the stock distribution option.
Another issue resolved with the decision is the valuation of government’s compensation to HLI. In the partial motion for reconsideration and clarification filed by the HLI Management they are asking for a compensation of at least 5 billion pesos or based on fair market value as of January 2, 2006, the date when the Notice of Coverage for the sugar estate’s compulsory land distribution was issued.
But on a vote of 8-6, the SC en banc denied HLI’s plea and affirmed its earlier ruling that the date of valuation should be from Nov 21, 1989 up to the date of issuance of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s (PARC) Resolution approving HLI’s stock distribution plan. Voting in favor of the 1989 valuation were Chief Justice Corona and Justices Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, Jr., Jose Perez, and Jose Mendoza. The 6 justices on the other hand who opted to refer the land valuation to a special agrarian court were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, and Pres. Aquino’s 3 appointees: Maria Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
Meanwhile the HLI said they will abide by the Supreme court decision. Speaking in behalf of the company HLI spokeman Antonio Ligon said the company has always believed that “the purpose of the law is to give justice and equal rule for everyone.The application of law in this case is no exception. The Supreme Court has spoken and if that is the guidelines as to the determination of just compensation, then we will abide and will do whatever is required of HLI”.
- SC to issue final ruling on Hacienda Luisita Tuesday (newsinfo.inquirer.net)