MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang assured former Chief Justice Renato Corona that the distribution of lands at the Hacienda Luisita is ongoing and suggested that he focus instead on answering the tax evasion raps against him and his family.
In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte laughed off Corona’s query last week as to why the lands have not been distributed to the farmers of the Cojuangco-managed land amid a final decision when he was still chief justice.
Valte said, “It would be better if he answer first the tax evasion raps against him.”
Corona was at the Department of Justice on Thursday to subscribe to his counter-affidavit to the P120.5-million tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
He said the tax case is still part of the government’s persecution against him.
“Six months after the decision of the Corona court had become final in connection with the Hacienda Luisita, I am wondering why until now the lands are not yet distributed to the pitiful farmers, not even a single piece,” he added.
During his impeachment trial, Corona claimed the decision was one of the reasons Malacanang wants him out of office. Luisita has long been in the hands of Aquino’s relatives.
Corona was ousted from office in May after the senator-judges found him liable for failing to disclose all his bank accounts in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
“The government is already working on [the distribution]. [Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes] is giving updates,” Valte said.
Many farmers have complained, however, that they have not received any news from the government.