• The failure of Cory’s legacy to her family

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    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    HAVE former Chief Justice Renato Corona and his court not outlawed the distribution of shares of stock as substitute for farm lands, the tenant beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by the Cojuangcos, would have been the poorest of the country’s poor today.

    The Supreme Court’s ruling against the presidential family had cost Corona his post. It will be remembered as the cause of his illegal ouster via impeachment.

    If you were to review and analyze the events that led to the first impeachment ever of a Chief Justice, you would conclude that President BS Aquino 3rd has made it a family agenda to get back at the man who embarrassed his mother. Imagine yourself to be the president of this country and under your term, you witness how the High Tribunal, led by the chief, ruled against a law that your mother had successfully put in place to protect the family’s wealth.

    As the president and son of a former president, what would you have felt when Chief Justice Corona ruled against your mother? The need for revenge as it’s the best available weapon you could use against him. And once you succeed, as Aquino had indeed succeeded in removing Corona, you have just scored two major victories: one against the man who had hurt your mother, and your chance to appoint your nominee to head the High Tribunal.

    But you would say the first female Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who to some does not deserve to be a chief justice, has been fair in her ruling. She had demonstrated her independence by going along with the Supreme Court decision that voided the “corporate” land reform program of the late president and presidential mother. Corona and his court, for their part, ordered the Cojuangcos to give to 6,296 tenants 4,915 hectares of farm lands of their hacienda.

    Credit should go where it is due: to Cojuangco-Aquino the mother for amending the agrarian reform law to allow “corporate” land reform that would at least temporarily allow the Cojuangcos to retain ownership of their hacienda; to the High Tribunal for returning to tenant farmers their right to own land and not worthless certificates of stocks; and finally to Sereno for putting a tag price of P10 billion as “just compensation” for the “dispossessed” family of her president.

    How did Sereno arrive at said amount? Only she could provide the answer. But while you are wondering about her puzzling number, allow Due Diligencer to present you a series of computations on the implications of Sereno’s P10-billion “just compensation” for the Cojuangcos.

    Since the Cojuangcos had allocated 118.391 million shares, or 37 percent of their holdings in Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI), ergo, the block should be worth P10 billion as Sereno would have them priced, though the amount was applied to the land. Dividing P10 billion by 118.391 million shares equals P84.46 per share times 355.531 million HLI outstanding shares equals P30.03 billion. Sereno’s P10-billion “just compensation” would have made the company worth that much.

    How about the president’s family? Well, if HLI’s entire outstanding capital stock of 355.531 million shares would be valued at P30.03 billion based on Sereno’s P10-billion “just compensation,” deduct the farmer’s P10-billion share would leave the Cojuangcos with assets of P20.03 billion. Having a chief justice on your side would make you very, very rich but only in paper.

    As for the 6,296 farmers, had the stock distribution been declared legal by the High Tribunal and Sereno’s tag price would apply, each of them would own 18,804.371 HLI shares each, which when multiplied by P84.465 per share equals P1.588 million.

    Lest Due Diligencer be accused of manipulating the numbers used in its computation, let us be clear that the presentation is intended only to stress a point. If Sereno favored the Cojuangcos with a P10-billion “just compensation,” she perhaps did not know that Hacienda Luisita has been losing heavily over the years that as of 2011 it had piled up deficit of P1.326 billion, which would mean that even as stockholders, the hacienda’s farmers would not receive any dividends. Instead, the 6,296 farmers’ 37 percent ownership would make them not owners of assets but “holders” of P490.62 million deficit, or P77,925.667 each.

    esdperez@gmail.com

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