Just compensation tops SC agenda on Luisita case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2012 10:49 AM | Updated as of Apr 24 2012 11:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - How much should government pay the Cojuangco family for Hacienda Luisita? According to Supreme Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez, this is the last contentious issue on the hacienda to be tackled by the Supreme Court in its en banc session today.

"The most contentious issue that the court will have to discuss is the rate of compensation. Is it 1989 rate or 2006 rate or is it something to be determined at a future time? " he told ANC.

He added: "All the other issues are practically settled."

Marquez earlier said the SC will issue a final decision on Hacienda Luisita today.

The hacienda is a sugar plantation estate in Tarlac owned by members of the Cojuangco family, including the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of President Benigno Aquino III.

Last November 22, 2011, the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of almost 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita to 6,296 farmworker-beneficiaries.

In the decision, 10 Supreme Court magistrates voted to compensate the managers of Hacienda Luisita based on a 1989 valuation.

They said the compensation be reckoned from November 21, 1989, when an original stock distribution plan was offered to the farmers.

Only one magistrate, Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno, wanted the management to receive compensation “which shall be based on their fair market value as of 02 January 2006, to be determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).”

Hacienda Luisita Inc. spokesman Antonio Ligon earlier said the owners of the hacienda want P5 billion (P1 million per hectare) for the land. He said the valuation was made by the Land Bank of the Philippines and DAR during the Arroyo administration.

Chief Justice Renato Corona earlier claimed President Aquino wanted him impeached and removed from office because of the SC's decision on Hacienda Luisita.

He said he is opposing the Cojuangco family's proposal to get P10 billion for distributing the estate.