NATIONAL CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
Secretariat: Solidarity Philippines - Room 106, CICM Guest House Building
No. 60, 14th St., New Manila, Quezon City
Telephone Number: 510-0734 Mobile: 0919-5965789
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Convenors Msgr. Manuel G. Gabriel Fr. Jose P. Dizon Fr. Mario H. Agunod
Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm Fr. Jesus M. Malit, SSS Fr. Wilfredo Dulay, MJ Fr.
Amado Picardal, CSsR Msgr. Elmer Abacahin Msgr. Rey Monsanto Secretariat
17 August 2010
Statement on Hacienda Luisita Compromise Agreement
(Statement of CBCP-NASSA and National Clergy Discernment Group)
The Church in the Philippines acknowledges that “agrarian reform is still
the one big issue that touches our rural poor most directly.” The agenda
for social justice and the realization of our preferential love for the
poor are seriously tested in our resolve to address the problem of
inequity and rural poverty through our commitment to implement genuine
land reform (Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council, No. 391).
The case of the reported compromise deal in the 21-year dispute in
Hacienda Luisita was taunted as a breakthrough in the effort to end the
long-standing agrarian issue over the 6,500-hectare land owned by the
Cojuangcos, the family of President Benigno Aquino III. The deal could
have been a cause for celebration if not for a number of questionable
processes and highly inequitable terms contained in the said agreement
whose reported approval of the farmers was brokered by the company itself,
the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI).
We will laud and support any initiative to immediately resolve the
two-decade land dispute, but it should be in a manner that is fair and
would uphold the farmers’ rightful claim to the land. The unusual haste
that characterizes the whole process of arriving at a compromise makes the
deal all the more questionable and suspicious. Hence, we raise the
following issues below to question the supposed terms of agreements and
the process by which the compromise was crafted.
In 2005, the directive from the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and
the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) explicitly called for the
redistribution of 4,415 hectares of the 6,500 hectarage under the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Implementation of this order was
stalled by the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) granted by the Supreme
Court. But the present compromised agreement totally disregarded the DAR
order and made the farmers accept the lopsided sharing scheme - with the
farmer-beneficiaries being offered only 33% of the land or only 1,400
hectares out of the 6,500-hectare property. Clearly, this arrangement is
disproportionately in favor of the HLI and totally contradicting the
social justice intent of the law. In effect, the farmers will end up
owning very small parcel of the land for the sprawling land estate would
be divided among 10,502 CARP beneficiaries, based on the list submitted by
Hacienda Luisita management. And the list itself actually needs meticulous
scrutiny and verification.
The compromised agreement also made provision for the implementation of
the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), which is in fact, already revoked by
DAR in the same order in 2005. The SDO scheme is unacceptable for it is an
outright circumvention of the agrarian provision for land distribution.
And it is worth mentioning that in the twenty one years of implementing
the SDO, it had not lifted the farmers out of their impoverished and
vulnerable state. The SDO scheme facilitated the virtual surrender of the
farmers of their rightful claims to the agricultural lands of the hacienda
in exchange for a pittance or meager shares of capital stock and
The much-ballyhooed compromised agreement on Hacienda Luisita’s estate was
also tainted with anomalous processes in the way the company chose
representatives for the farmer sector. The present leadership both of ULWU
(United Luisita Workers’ Union) and AMBALA (Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid
ng Asyenda Luisita), question the authority of the company-designated
leaders, namely Noel Mallari and Eldifonso Pingol, to represent the
organizations that had already disowned and expelled them a long time ago.
Moreover, the manner of obtaining farmers and workers signatures was also
dubious in view of the allegation of bribe-offers disguised as “financial
package” or “monetary benefits.” We acknowledge the fact that destitution
in Hacienda Luisita would drive the farmers to seek immediate and
temporary relief from their economic woes, hence making the compensation
package of the SDO an enticing option. But the strategy of capitalizing on
peoples’ poverty to trick them into accepting the disadvantageous
compromise is another form of grave injustice committed against the
In the light of the foregoing, we denounce the compromise deal in Hacienda
Luisita as a grand scheme to thwart the implementation of the agrarian
reform law and a pre-emptive strategy to influence the Supreme Court
decision on the TRO case pending for resolution soon.
To serve the interest of justice, we appeal to President Benigno Aquino
III to fulfill his pro-poor platform of governance by implementing the
agrarian law and by not honoring the compromise deal that ran counter to
the constitutional mandate that the entire 4,415 hectares of land should
be distributed to the plantation farmers. The President cannot feign
neutrality in this issue, for his silence and inaction will mean an
implicit endorsement of the unjust compromise deal orchestrated by
Cojuangco-owned HLI. If land reform cannot be implemented in Hacienda
Luisita, we see no possibility of implementing it in any place at all.
Hindi na kami pwedeng mangarap . . . sa pagpapatupad ng tunay na
katarungan para sa mga mahihirap!
Concretely, we appeal that the compromise deal be set aside and allow a
genuine and transparent process of consultation with the farmers be
conducted, allowing them to understand the full range of options available
and the advantageous counter-proposal that will truly benefit their
sector. This initiative should be carried out by DAR, in partnership with
the legitimate farmers’ and workers’ organizations.
We believe that the social justice agenda of the Aquino administration
will be loudly spelled by the decisive intervention of the President to
push for the rights of the farmers over and above the sinister attempt of
the Cojuangcos to retain ownership of the CARP-able hacienda.
We affirm the social teaching of the Church that explicitly underlines
that “the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common
use, to the fact that the goods are meant for everyone” (Laborem Exercens,
We will continue to pray and work for the resolution of agrarian conflicts
so that so that justice and the Lord’s peace may be truly realized.
For immediate Release
August 7, 2010
LUISITA DEAL IS INVALID. COJUANCO-AQUINO AND THE ALLEGED FARMERS’
REPRESENTATIVES MAY BE LIABLE FOR CONTEMPT
Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga
“HLI management has not learned its lessons in 1989, continues the crooked
way of dealing with the farm workers”, says Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga,
Executive Trustee of Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA)
and the lawyer of farm workers who petitioned for the revocation of the
SDO in Hacienda Luisita. The case is now pending in the Supreme Court.
Mallari et al had no authority to make the deal
According to Pahilga, the persons who signed the deal purportedly in
behalf of the farm workers had no authority to enter into the settlement
not to mention that the agreement is illegal as it violates the existing
agrarian reform laws.
He volunteers the information that Noel Mallari, who claims to be the
president of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala),
has never been president of Ambala and he had long been ousted from the
organization for acts inimical to the farm workers. He said that the
records of the case pending before the Supreme Court would reveal that he
claimed to represent FARM Luisita, not Ambala. “This Mallari is an
impostor”, he said and continued, “He is biting on an HLI proposal that
was already vehemently rejected by the farmworkers in 2006”.
“Noel Mallari was the Vice-President of Ambala when its more than 6,000
members filed the petition to revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO)
before the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in 2004. When the case was
pending with the DAR, however, Mallari was kicked out of Ambala as he
secretly negotiated with the Luisita management without authority from the
farm workers. Thus, even before the Hacienda Luisita massacre happened,
Mallari is not anymore a member or officer of Ambala. After the massacre,
Mallari reappeared and represented himself as President of FARM Luisita.
In the case, before the Supreme Court, it was only Ambala as represented
by its President Rene Galang, and the Supervisory Group of Hacienda
Luisita, Inc. that were impleaded as private respondents. But Mallari,
through FARM Luisita filed a petition-in-intervention for and in behalf of
FARM Luisita. Thus, he became party to the case. Clearly, Mallari has no
personality to represent the 6,000 strong members of
Ambala because he never was the president of Ambala but of FARM Luisita.
But, like Ambala, it appears that FARM Luisita is also not amenable to the
deal entered into by Mallari. This is for which reason that we will file a
petition to cite Mallari and HLI management in contempt of court. Mallari
misrepresented himself as the president of Ambala even when he did not
hold such position and is not even a member of Ambala. On the otherhand,
the Luisita management, to muddle the issue, is equally guilty of contempt
for negotiating the deal with Mallari when they also know that Mallari has
no personality to represent Ambala. They should know this because of the
Supreme Court case that they filed where Mallari is a party as
representative of FARM Luisita. Records of the Supreme Court would also
show that as early as January 2010, Felix Nakpil, as the president of
Ambala filed a motion to cite HLI management in contempt as they were
issuing statements through the Luisita Estate Management to confuse the
farmers and muddle the issue at the Supreme Court, according to Pahilga.
“Jose Julio Zuniga and Windsor Aadaya, on the other hand, were the clients
of SENTRA in the case before the Supreme Court. They represented the
Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, which is composed of more or less
200 persons. However, after the Supreme Court issued the Temporary
Restraining Order (TRO) that prevented the DAR to revoke the SDO and
distribute the land to the farmers, they no longer communicated with
SENTRA. SENTRA learned that they were given vast tract of land by Luisita
management to cultivate and planted with sugar cane. Thus, while the farm
workers were struggling daily to make a living, they lived affluent lives
courtesy of the Luisita management. Even then, SENTRA already learned that
they were co-opted by the Luisita management. Thus, we do not anymore
wonder why they signed the deal. However, we do not know whether in
signing the agreement, they were given the green light by the rest of the
members of the Supervisory Group” added Pahilga.
“The same is true with Edilberto Pingol. He was the Vice-President of
United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU). But contrary to their assertion in
the agreement, ULWU is not a party to the Supreme Court case. HLI
management very well knows this. Moreover, Pingol could not represent ULWU
as he was not given the authority to represent the farm workers’ union”
according to Pahilga.
“We will definitely question in all forums available to us the standing of
these individuals with whom HLI management negotiated and hold them
accountable for their acts”, Pahilga asserted.
The agreement is contrary to law
“The agreement stated that the farm workers have two options – to continue
with the SDO scheme or to have the land actually distributed to them. In
the event that the farm workers opt for actual land distribution, they
will be given the equivalent percentage of the size of the land from the
remaining HLI land actually devoted to agriculture, with a total area of
4,102 hectares, approximately. This means that the farm workers will only
be given 33% of the 4,102 hectares, which in effect, will total only to
1,400 hectares. This 1,400 will be divided to the farm workers who will
opt for land distribution while the rest of the land will remain with HLI.
This is worst that the original SDO agreement of 1989. Moreover, HLI has
no right to retain the rest of the land because they should be covered by
the existing agrarian reform program. Under the existing law, agricultural
land in excess of 5 hectares shall be distributed to the farmers. Clearly,
HLI is subverting the law to maintain
their control and ownership of hacienda Luisita.
The referendum is also illegal
The “referendum” conducted by the HLI management purportedly to make the
farm workers choose whether they would continue under the SDO scheme or
get a piece of HLI lands, is also illegal, according to Pahilga.
“It is illegal because the PARC decision to cover the HLI lands for
agrarian reform still stands and unless this decision is reversed, the
lands are effectively under the jurisdiction of DAR”. Pahilga said. He
explained that the TRO issued by the Supreme Court merely restrained the
implementation of the Presidential Agrarian Reforms Council’s (PARC)
decision but the decision is valid as things stand. He asserted that only
DAR had the authority to decide on what to do with the HLI lands as they
are already placed under the agrarian reform program.
Pahilga pointed out that the “referendum” was not supervised by DAR. He
says that the HLI act of conducting a “referendum” has all the badges of
maliciously defying the Department.
In relation thereto, he recalled that the Supreme Court had already set
this August 18 the oral argument on the HLI petition against the PARC’s
decision. He then pointed out that it was HLI who went to the Supreme
Court to question the validity of the PARC decision so that it ethically
behooves of the HLI to wait for the Court to decide on the matter.
“The Cojuangos-Aquinos are not only bad landlords, they are also bad
drivers recklessly trying to beat the green light which is to come after
the oral argument called by the Supreme Court”, Pahilga said, emphasizing
that the HLI is trying to pre-empt the Supreme Court whose intervention
they themselves sought.
“What the HLI is doing is a repeat of the manufactured referendum in 1989
which mothered the protracted strife that now bedevils the farm workers
community in Hacienda Luisita”, Pahilga further said noting that “it
appears that, given the bloodshed the strife had caused, the
Cojuangcos-Aquinos have not really learned their lessons in 1989”.
He also noted that the act makes up the third time that the
Cojuangcos-Aquinos betrayed agrarian reform and the HLI farm workers,
recalling that the first betrayal was in 1986, after Cory Aquino became
president due to EDSA revolution, when her administration through the
Solicitor General withdrawn the case filed by the government against the
Cojuancos for the distribution of the land to the farm workers.
During the reign of Ferdinand Marcos, the government filed a case to
compel the Cojuancos to give the land to the farm workers as it was the
condition for the loan they obtained with the Government Service Insurance
System (GSIS) and the Central Bank. The loan was used to purchase the
sugar mill and the hacienda Luisita. The Regional Trial Curt (RTC) of
Manila then ordered the Cojuancos to fulfill the condition of the loan and
to distribute the land to the farm workers. They appealed the decision,
however, to the Court of Appeals. While pending appeal and Cory became
president, her administration ordered the withdrawal of the case from the
Court of Appeals, according to Pahilga
The second act of betrayal was in 1989 when they chose to implement stock
distribution option (SDO) in HLI instead of having the lands actually
distributed to the farmers. This SDO is the root of all the misery and
predicament of the farm workers. This SDO led to the hacienda luisita
massacre and the farm workers already rejected this scheme, said Pahilga.
In negotiating with a Noel Mallari who claims he is the president of
Ambala, Pahilga noted that the ingredients for the repeat of the 1989
deception are present. “This time, they are trying to manufacture consent
by negotiating with individuals who do not have authority to represent the
“We will definitely question in the Supreme Court the validity of the deal
and the standing of these individuals with whom HLI management negotiated
and hold them in contempt of the court”, Pahilga asserted.
The agreement was intended to muddle the issue and pre-empt the outcome of
the case now pending with the Supreme Court. The HLI management very well
knew that they will not win the battle in the Supreme Court. For one,
PARC’s resolution to revoke the SDO, as it did not improve the lives of
the farm workers but made them more miserable, was unanimous. For another,
HLI had violated several agrarian reform laws and the SDO scheme is
clearly unconstitutional and unjust, ended Pahilga. #
-- Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (PATRIA) c/o Rural
Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) Office Religious of the Good
Shepherd (RGS) Compound 1043 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City Philippines
August 14, 2010
Luisita compromise deal, referendum will go down in history like ’04
massacre – KMU
“The so-called compromise agreement between Hacienda Luisita owners and
Luisita farmers as well as the recent referendum will go down in history
like the Nov. 16, 2004 massacre of farmers and farm workers who were
calling for land reform – another proof of the Cojuangco and Aquino clans’
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s reaction to news reports
revealing the truth about the referendum held in Hacienda Luisita over the
weekend, as well as the “compromise agreement” between the hacienda’s
owners and farmers.
News reports reveal that the referendum was conducted in haste and without
sufficient information dissemination among farmers. Farmers were promised
money in exchange for voting in favor of the Stock Distribution Option
scheme and were ferried en masse to voting areas. This is on top of the
massive deployment of military forces in the hacienda and the use of
“fake” leaders to represent the farmers.
“As the truth continues to out, it is becoming increasingly clear that the
referendum and the much-touted compromise agreement constitute another
black eye for the Cojuangco and Aquino clans. These form part of another
landmark in their long history of denying farmers the legitimate right to
own the Luisita lands,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“The Cojuangco and Aquino clans’ greed is simply mind-boggling. They
refused to distribute the land in accordance with their initial agreement
with the government. When Cory was president, they invented the SDO scheme
to again deny the land to the farmers. Nobody believes they were not in
cahoots with the Arroyo regime in launching the Nov. 16, 2004 massacre of
farmers and farm workers. Now, this,” he added.
“Wait till the public learns about the patently illegal and anti-farmer
provisions of the so-called compromise deal. It says farmers are waving
the right to pursue legal actions on the Luisita management’s moves
whether in the past or in the future. Because they are in such haste to
finish the land reform issue off, they are showing the country and the
world just how greedy they really are,” Labog said.
Noynoy hands off
The labor leader also criticized Pres. Simeon Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III
for denying, through his spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, that he had a hand
in crafting and pushing for the compromise agreement.
“That is a classic Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo move: denying responsibility
for schemes that clearly benefit the sitting president, while saying that
the matter should be resolved by those directly involved. That is not
pagbabago; that is panggagantso,” Labog said.
“In case President Noynoy’s memory is failing him this early, we remind
him: you are the president of the country and it is your family that owns
Hacienda Luisita. You should intervene in a transparent matter on the case
and uphold agrarian reform – that is, side with the farmers against your
family and its paid minions,” he added.
Reference person: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597
13 August 2010
Reference: Public Information Department (0917-4661522)
GABRIELA hits Luisita “compromise deal’
It was a pitiful sight. In the news that hit the televisions last night, a
woman farmer worker, old and barely able to walk upright, was seen in a
covered court in Hacienda Luisita, queuing for her share of the “financial
package” as agreed upon in the “compromised agreement” that was supposedly
entered into by the farmer-beneficiaries and the Hacienda Luisita
Militant women’s group GABRIELA condemns the onerous referendum that the
HLI underhandedly led the farmer beneficiaries to participate in.
According to the group, the referendum gives no option at all to the farm
workers as they were only asked to choose between remaining under the
stock distribution option (SDO) and land distribution corresponding to
their percentage shareholding in HLI.
“Nakakaiyak at nakakagalit ang eksena na isang manggagawang bukid na
tumanda na sa pagtatrabaho sa Luisita, ay makakatanggap lamang ng ilang
daang pisong kapalit ng kanilang paghihirap at pag-aaruga sa lupa,” said
Obeth Montes, speaking for GABRIELA.
According to Montes, the “compromise agreement” is sham as it is
deceitful. “GABRIELA has actively campaigned and joined the farm workers
in Luisita in their struggle. We know for a fact that the supposed farmer
representatives who signed the agreement—Noel Mallari, Eldifonso Pingol,
et al—are in no position to represent the farm workers’ unions AMBALA and
ULWU, as they claim to.”
“Further, there is already a Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC)
decision in 2005 revoking the stock distribution agreement in Luisita. If
not only for the TRO applied by HLI, the lands in Luisita should have long
been distributed to the rightful owners—the farmers and farm workers,”
GABRIELA reiterates its call for the scrapping of SDO and the sham
“Clearly, the agreement was a calculated move by the HLI to preempt the
Supreme Court decision in the scheduled oral argument in August 18. The
management knows they are going to lose the battle. As proven by the PARC
decision, and the living testimonies that are the lives of the women farm
workers and their families in Luisita, the SDO did not improve the
condition of the farmer beneficiaries. It even defeats the very purpose of
land reform, which is social justice. The glaring truth is that after
Luisita was placed under SDO, the more than 10,000 farm workers divide
among themselves a tiny portion of the profit in the hacienda, while the
Cojuanco-Aquinos and the HLI management enjoy themselves billions of
profits from the hard labor of the farm workers,” said Montes.
“We challenge President Aquino to speak up and make known his position on
this issue. In this conflict between his family and the farm workers, he
must do away from personal interest. As a president, it is his obligation
to prioritize the welfare of the people. In ensuring that social justice
is not compromised, we challenge him to uphold the 2005 PARC decision and
implement genuine agrarian reform in
Hacienda Luisita. Now,” added Montes.
Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Office
(+632) 3712302 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (+632) 3712302