THE Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) has been emailing Due Diligencer press releases since this corner came out many months ago with the lie Malacañang peddled to the media that President Benigno Aquino 3rd had nothing to do anymore with Hacienda Luisita.
As told by Edwin Lacierda, a president’s spokesman and one of Malacañang’s temporary occupants, the President had already sold his holdings in Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI), which was incorporated as a subsidiary of the group of companies owned and controlled by the President’s family. For over two years, the lie remains easily available to the public through the Internet.
Since no one among the temporary occupants of the Palace had corrected the misinformation, Due Diligencer had exposed Lacierda’s misleading disclosure on the President’s ownership of HLI shares. The truth was—and still is—the President did not own a share in Hacienda Luisita the company, had never owned one, and would never qualify to own one for a reason that should have been obvious to Lacierda and other Malacañang’s temporary occupants, led by their chief.
If Malacañang’s intention then was to deflect the Hacienda Luisita issue away from the President, they had succeeded only for two years, that is, until Due Diligencer came out with the truth: Hacienda Luisita was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a 100-percent owned unit of Tarlac Development Corp. shortly after then-President Corazon Aquino amended the agrarian reform law allowing the distribution of shares of stock instead of land to tenants as compliance with said law.
(The Supreme Court has ruled against stock distribution of the agrarian law, a ruling that led to the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Due Diligencer’s omission of “former” in referring to Corona is intentional in view of recent developments that the senator judges have been bribed to rule in accordance with the wish of Malacañang. What does this make of the appointment of Ma. Lourdes Sereno as chief justice? This may be another story that is not Due Diligencer’s expertise.)
Due Diligencer is recalling all this as the farmers of Hacienda Luisita never get tired of furnishing this writer with their press releases. They have been crying for justice that has eluded them for years; some of them have even died fighting for the land that the government has originally mandated for distribution to them. How did this happen? It is for the Hacienda Luisita farmers’ group to document this and inform the public and those who care to listen to reason that they deserve the land that they have been tilling for decades.
Let the farmers’ group research the history of Hacienda Luisita to answer the following: How did the Cojuangcos finance the acquisition of such huge tract of land? Did the money or part of the funding come from the government? If so, then how much did they borrow? These questions may sound very, basic but it’s time that the younger generation of the Hacienda’s tenant farmers is educated on the history of their parents’ or grandparents’ claim over the Cojuangco land.
Then finally, it may also be the time to tell the public if the government loan to the Cojuangcos was conditioned on the “sale at cost” of the land to the farmers. Should the farmers successfully document that truth that the government has set said condition for the loan to which the Cojuangcos agreed, then they would strengthen their hold on the public opinion that the members of Malacañang’s media group have successfully diverted away from them.
What if there was said condition for the loan but which has been amended? No problem. Think of the effect of the information on who lobbied for the amendment and when said amendment took effect.
These are suggestions that the Hacienda farmers may not want to undertake, nevertheless, Due Diligencer believes they can form part of the farmers’ strategy to fight the efforts of the members of Malacañang’s deflectors to divert public attention away from Hacienda Luisita issues by focusing on the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
What a coincidence! Hacienda Luisita and the pork barrel scam had something in common: P10 billion was also the price tag Ma. Lourdes Sereno put on the Cojuangco land?