Manila, Philippines - Leaders of Hacienda Luisita based groups United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) on Wednesday told Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona that the prolonged legal battle at the high tribunal has become a perpetual nightmare to 10,000 farmer worker beneficiaries and that the Supreme Court should now have rendered a decision to correct the bizarre sins of the Cojuangco-Aquino feudal aristocracy for over half- century since 1957.
In a joint statement, Lito Bais, chairperson of ULWU and Felix Nacpil, chairperson of Ambala appealed to chief magistrate to resolve with dispatch and sense of social justice the decades long agrarian dispute inside the 6,453 hectare sugar estate.
“There is an urgency to speak of. The family of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III continues to commit the cardinal sins started by his ancestors way back 1957 like the denial of peasant rights to land and the continuing state sponsored terrorism inside the 6,453 hectare sugar estate the rightfully belongs to farm workers,” Bais and Nacpil said.
“The SC has no option but to render justice to agrarian victims in Hacienda Luisita. That’s their calling,” the Luisita farmer leaders added.
In concrete terms, the two farm worker leaders urged the Chief Justice to lift the temporary restraining order filed by the Luisita management against the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) revoking the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), declare the non-land transfer scheme illegal and unconstitutional and order the Cojuangco-Aquino clique to let go the 6,453 hectare sugar estate and have the land distributed for free to all qualified farm worker beneficiaries.
“In the name our farm workers’ collective interest on the Luisita case, we submit this humble appeal to Chief Justice Corona. The case should be decided by now and we see no legal obstacles that will stop the high court from issuing a define judgment. At this point, all we can say is that we are ready for the next chapter of this long running battle for land and justice,” the Luisita farmer leaders said.
Bais and Nacpil issued the joint statement during a program in Monumento in Caloocan City, shortly before a contingent of 500 farm workers from Cojuangco-Aquino estate who marched from the assembly site to Supreme Court in Padre Faura in Manila.
The long march which started from Tarlac City on Oct.18 was supported by the Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop-Ex) in Ilocos and La Union provinces and the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) chapters in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora provinces, which are all affiliates of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Meanwhile, peasant activists belonging to KMP affiliated Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) are set march today from Baclaran Redemptorist Church in Paranaque City to DAR national office in Quezon City.
The 1,000 farmers from the region will pass through EDSA on their way to Ayala Avenue in Makati City to condemn the alleged landgrabbing sprees by big landlords like the Ayala family as evidenced by agrarian cases in the region including but not limited to the 7,100 hectare land dispute in Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City, the 8,650 hectare land row in Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas and the 10,000 hectare agrarian case in Hacienda Zobel in Calatagan, also in Batangas province.
Kasama-TK spokesperson Nestor Villanueva the marchers will also staged a short demonstration at main camp of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo to demand the release of all political prisoners from Southern Tagalog, the latest of these political prisoners is Darwin Liwag, vice-chair of Kasama-TK who was two weeks ago over charges of illegal possession of fire arms and explosives, which Villanueva said was planted by the military men who arrested him and his two other companions.
One of the highlights of the Southern Tagalog march is the parade of effigy of President Benigno Aquino III where activists depict him as president of Haciendero Republic. The 20 feet effigy of the 50-year old bachelor president will be burned during the rally at Mendiola Bridge tomorrow.
“Aquino is certified peasant enemy no.1. The burning of his effigy symbolizes the collective outrage of farmers against this regime of landgrabbers, regime of feudal aristocrats and regime of extrajudicial killers,” said Villanueva. #