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Groups hit PNoy's family, warn SC ruling on Luisita will worsen agrarian unrest
In The Press Posted on July 6th, 2011.
Third referendum favoring Cojuangcos, Aquinos
Gabriela Women's partylist Rep. Emerciana de Jesus said that the SC ruling is actually the third referendum that "favored the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos."
She said that a second "sham" referendum was also carried out by the HLI in 2010 when Noel Mallari, who did not represent the majority of Luisita farm workers, signed a compromise deal with the HLI that only 1,366 hectares of the 4,915 hectares of the land under the SDO would be covered by land distribution and that should the farm workers decide to liquidate, lease or transfer their assets, they should grant HLI "the right of first refusal."
De Jesus said that in reversing the 2005 PARC decision, "the SC in effect, killed the hopes and future of hundreds of peasant families who were denied of their right to a decent life."
"The SC taught the farmers a valuable lesson – that the institution which they expect to be the final interpreter of the law betrayed them and burried the last nail on the coffin containing their dream for genuine land reform,” she said.
"The decision will further fuel agrarian unrest as it exposed a government that will never support genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. The decision will surely push forward a more militant and united struggle of the Hacienda Luisita farm workers and all peasants who are asserting their right to own the land they till,” she added.
Power to buy votes
Meanwhile, the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also expressed disappoinment over the high tribunal's ruling.
“We are not happy, of course. It is very saddening especially since it will be returned to the people for a referendum," said Fr. Edwin Rodriguez, executive secretary of the CBCP's National Secretariat for Social Action.
“It is like they do not want to be blamed for anything. It is the SC’s job to resolve the issue. It appears that they failed to do it,” he added.
Rodriguez said that with another plebiscite among farmers, the HLI management would have the power to buy votes.
“Alam naman natin na ginawa 'yan noon pa at ang ginawa ng HLI ay nagbayad ng mga tao para yung mga tao ay bumoto for the SDO [Of couse we know that it was done before, the HLI paid people for them to vote for the SDO],” he said.
“Parang sa eleksyon din, dahil sa hirap ng buhay, kakapit sa patalim..Ang advantage niyan ay nasa management pa din ng HLI kasi kaya nilang bilhin ang boto ng tao para mag-SDO,” the priest added.
[It's like the elections because of poverty, people would succumb to their needs...Of course the HLI will still have the advantage because it can but votes for the people to favor the SDO.]
Boycott the referendum
Luzviminda Ilagan, another Gabriela party-list representative, urged Luisita farm workers to boycott the referendum to dramatize their protest against the ruling of the high court. "What will happen to them now? For so long, they pinned their hopes in a decision favoring the tillers of the land."