The Hacienda Luisita Corporate Give-Away


The Hacienda Luisita Corporate Give-Away

Atty. Elpidio V. Peria

The Hacienda Luisita Corporate Give-Away: How The Supreme Court Tried to Dispense Social Justice While Condemning Landless Farmers to Perpetual Penury

The Supreme Court decision in Hacienda Luisita Incorporated v. Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, promulgated last July 5, 2011 constituted a give-away to corporate entities that have similarly availed of the stock distribution option to comply with the mandate of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the signature policy of the first Aquino administration that until now has not been fully implemented, over two decades after its establishment.

In a press release reacting to the decision, even Sen. Gringo Honasan, who heads the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform, referred to around seven large corporate landholdings in the country which may have similar stock distribution schemes that may be affected by this decision.

Perhaps too aware of such fact, the Supreme Court sought to prevent the application of the principles enunciated in this decision to similar cases where various corporate farms may have availed of similar stock distribution schemes, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco belatedly mentioned in the last sentence prior to the dispositive part that the Decision will apply to this petition only (pro hac vice, which means “this time only”), meaning, its doctrinal value and application to similar cases is limited.

Secondly, the constitutional challenge to sec. 31 of Republic Act 6657, the law on CARP was warded off on various grounds notwithstanding Chief Justice Corona's eloquent dissent arguing for the opposite, that the said provision of the law is unconstitutional.

Sec. 31 is the assailed provision of the CARP law providing the legal basis for stock distribution instead of land, to landless farmers.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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