The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL, KMP Central Luzon) and Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK, KMP Southern Tagalog) supported Hacienda Luisita farmers’ rejection led by Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) of the Supreme Court’s mediation for a compromise deal with the Cojuangco-Aquinos.
“It is very disturbing that the highest court in the land could not uphold the legitimate claim of the farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita. Legally and morally, the Cojuangco-Aquinos have no claim of the lands since 1957 and yet the high court is echoing the mechanics of the sham compromise deal of the Cojuangco-Aquinos last August 6,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.
The group said that unless the Supreme Court would not affirm the revocation of Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and distribute the lands to the farmworkers, the dispute would continue to heighten.
The groups said that the high court seemed to disregard the discussion at the oral arguments on August 18 and 24 and sidestepped the issue of revocation of the SDO.
“The justices grilled the lawyers of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) and found out that SDO was not favorable to the farmworkers, to cite a few were, SDO never treated the farmworkers as owners, they were only given wages as payment for their labor, lands were converted palpably without the consideration of the farmworkers and the Cojuangco-Aquinos were lying when they claimed that HLI was suffering losses when it claims that the number of farmworkers increased to about 10,000, as reported by their motion asking approval of the compromise deal,” said Ramos.
The groups said that the proposed mediation by the SC was really a surprise as it is very unjust and unsound as it is a circumvention of the arduous oral arguments.
“The oral arguments were to ascertain whether SDO should be revocated or not, but the SC took the path of the mediation, atypical and bound to discount the oral arguments. It is like running in circles or turning the farmworkers’ heads around,” Ramos said.
KMP also said that president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s power and influence are already working when Solicitor General Joel Cadiz accepted the proposal of mediation. The group said that it was a total treachery to its own decision of revocating SDO, the very reason the scheme reached the deliberation of the high court.
The group also added that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through its 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, militarized Hacienda Luisita from 2005 to present, enlisting barangay officials as members of CAFGU and turning civilian establishments into a military detachment.
“The very presence of the military proves that Aquino is working with his relatives in suppressing the farmworkers’ protest against the compromise deal, thus, he is totally lying when he claimed he had his ‘hands off’ the Hacienda Luisita issue,” Ramos said.
Singing the same tune
Farmworkers from AMBALA said that some of the justices proposed that farmworkers choose between land or SDO. They said that it is very annoying how could respected justices of the highest court of the land could propose exactly what the Cojuangco-Aquinos did on August when they held the illegal referendum asking the farmworkers to vote for land or SDO.
AMBALA is also enraged of the PARC who abandoned them, particularly its supposed defense of its own decision revocating SDO but it supported the proposal of mediation. The farmworkers said that the Cojuangco-Aquinos, the fake farmworkers representatives, the PARC and Supreme Court are already “singing the same tune” of supporting the SDO.
KMP have also said that DAR is ineffective, the military is hounding the farmworkers at Hacienda Luisita and Congress could not do anything to defend their interests, given that SDO is part of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer.
The group said that institutions of the government are exposing themselves as opposite of the farmers fundamental interest which is to own the lands they have cultivated for generations. Thus, leaving the farmers with no legal venues to petition their grievances.
“The issue of Hacienda Luisita is a model agrarian dispute in the country. Farmers have the legitimate claim of the lands but powerful and influential landlords kept control for decades, using the state’s machineries such as executive agencies and its military and police, lawmaking bodies and the courts. This left the farmers with no legal option but the peasant movement,” said Ramos.
Anticipating renewed attacks
The groups said that farmers nationwide would continue to arouse, organize and mobilize for genuine land reform and particularly against Stock Distribution Option and the Cojuanco-Aquinos’ feudal control of Hacienda Luisita.
“By the way things are happening at the Supreme Court, the farmworkers chances of acquiring the lands are getting slimmer. This is the very reason the farmworkers should be ready at Hacienda Luisita as the Cojuangco-Aquinos would not hesitate to use violence against them,” said Ramos.
The groups said that the Cojuangco-Aquinos have a bloody record against the Filipino peasants, citing the Mendiola Massacre on January 22, 1987 under Corazon Aquino’s administration and the Hacienda Luisita Massacre on November 16, 2004 when farmworkers launched the strike calling for the junking of the SDO.
“The peasant movement under KMP would continue to stay vigilant and consolidate our ranks to uphold genuine land reform in Hacienda Luisita. The moment the Supreme Court decide in favor of the Cojuangco-Aquinos, we would exert all efforts to thwart the next attempt of Hacienda Luisita massacre by the Aquino government,” Ramos claimed. #