Staunch allies of striking Luisita farm workers—the militant peasant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday urged lawmakers from both houses of Congress to conduct either a joint or separate congressional investigation on the alleged irregularities and acts of fraud that led to the signing of the Hacienda Luisita compromise deal between the management and a few leaders of unions who misrepresented the entire 10,000 farmer beneficiaries.
In a joint press statement, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said while the controversial and highly questionable breakthrough deal will be decided by the Supreme Court, Congress is empower to subject the compromise deal in aid of legislation because the deal according to agrarian legal experts like Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution and Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, lead counsel of Luisita farm workers in the case against the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) had dismissed the deal as unconstitutional, unlawful and anti-land reform.
“In the light of these common views shared by legal experts in land reform, we humbly submit this proposal to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny’ Belmonte to initiate a full-blown investigation on how the questionable deal was reached the HLI management and some leaders who misrepresented the 10,000 farmer beneficiaries during discreet negotiations,” the two leaders said.
Ramos and Hicap said senators and congressmen should cross party lines and conduct a deeper investigation on the Hacienda Luisita land deal.
“The Hacienda Luisita compromise deal according to legal experts violated the 1987 Constitution when it negated land distribution and keep the vast tract of sugar plantation under the monopoly control and disposal of the reigning feudal empire of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. The assertion does not include the issues about misrepresentations, coercions and other fraudulent acts committed by the HLI management in clinching this anomalous deal. The Senate and the House of Representatives have no other choice but take this matter and let the truth come out in the name national interest,” both leaders asserted.
KMP and Pamalakaya also dismissed the claim of HLI management that about 40 to 50 percent of the farmer worker beneficiaries or roughly 5,000 out of the 10,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries have signed the Luisita deal.
“Luisita spokesperson Tony Ligon is distorting the truth. This paid puppet and apologist of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III is acting as if he is beyond the Supreme Court, powerful than Congress and co-equal with the Office of the President. Perhaps the arrogance of this guy comes from the political position of his boss who is no other than President Aquino and the ruling feudal aristocracy in Luisita,” both groups added. Earlier, Pamalakaya asked agrarian reform secretary Virgilio delos Reyes to break his silence on the issue and oppose the compromise agreement even if it would cost his position as Cabinet member of the Aquino government and chief of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
The militant group had also asked the 117 archbishop and bishop members of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to make a stand against the sham deal and persuade President Aquino to stop his family from clinching a “conspiracy made in hell”.
Pamalakaya also urged another appointee of President Aquino, Atty. Joe Cadiz former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) now solicitor general to rise above the occasion, reject the compromise deal and pursue the free land distribution of Luisita to farmer beneficiaries. #