Statement by the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)
August 21, 2014
The recent controversial appointment of former Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) is another brazen maneuver by President BS Aquino for him to be able to continue corrupt practices as Pork Barrel King and to secure Cojuangco-Aquino interests in Hacienda Luisita.
As Solicitor-General, Jardeleza repeatedly echoed the Cojuangco-Aquinos’s position, practically undermining the SC’s landmark decision on land distribution and truthful accounting of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) assets. As Justice, Jardeleza is expected by BS Aquino to defend and eventually declare “legal” the sham land distribution implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and all other anomalies by the Aquino regime in Hacienda Luisita.
Jardeleza defended the DAR before the SC last year by arguing that the DAR is correct to oblige beneficiaries to pay amortization, and accurate in its land survey even with the glaring and indefensible deduction of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land for distribution to farmworkers.
Jardeleza contributed to the cover-up of the Cojuangcos’ anomalous transactions when he argued that technically, as party to the case, the HLI — or the Cojuangcos — must have a say in the appointment of an auditing firm that will scrutinize its books on the P 1.33 Billion proceeds of sale that the Cojuangcos owe its co-owners, the farmworkers. This intervention caused much delay that until now, the auditing process remains in a standstill. Disgruntled Luisita farmworkers are still deprived of their rightful share. Land and justice remain elusive to Luisita farmworkers.
Jardeleza also upheld the DAR’s refusal to recognize the “bungkalan” land cultivation campaign initiated by farm workers in 2005, which has now led to the eviction of hundreds of farmers and wanton destruction of more than a hundred hectares of ricefields and foodcrop plantations in Hacienda Luisita. Jardeleza’s rabid defense of Cojuangco-Aquino landlord interests has led to gross human rights violations and extensive loss of livelihood in several Luisita villages.
There is still a pending SC motion by the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid ng Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) to cite DAR and Cojuangco firm TADECO in contempt of the high court’s landmark decision. Farmworkers do not expect truth and justice to prevail with a Cojuangco lawyer in the Supreme Court.
Aquino appointed Jardeleza to the SC under very controversial circumstances. The former solicitor general who defended the government in the PDAF and DAP cases would naturally defend the position and interests of the Pork Barrel King who appointed him. Jardeleza will naturally present his previous arguments to defend the Cojuangcos in pending SC motions on the sham land distribution in Hacienda Luisita.
This power trip Jardeleza appointment once again demonstrates BS Aquino’s megalomania – the Pork Barrel King is interested only in his self-preservation. Hacienda Luisita farmworkers will join the Manila launch of the people’s initiative against the pork barrel and Million People March in Luneta on August 25.
Farmworkers can only pin their hopes for genuine land reform and justice in the movement to oust this despotic landlord president.