A comprehensive agreement between the Hacienda Luisita management and farmers has been reached said the representatives of both camps and the spokesperson of the Palace despite the petition of farmers still hanging on a balance at the Supreme Court.
The controversial agreement to settle the decades-old dispute on one of the largest agricultural estate in the Philippines included on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is being assailed by other farmers and beneficiaries saying that it pre-empts the Supreme Court into resolving the issue of the stock distribution that the Hacienda Luisita management gave to farmers instead of giving the lands. More so, the present machinations of the management is seen as deceptive as they only opt to give more than 1,000 hectares of land plus cash instead of distributing to farmers the more than 4,000 hectares already designated by the Department of Agrarian Reform for distribution to farmer-beneficiaries.
In all these, Pres. Noynoy Aquino who owns more than 1% shares to the company owned by his relatives has been aversive into dealing the cause of the farmers head-on. His spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda said that the President is not keen on involving himself to the issue in order not to be accused of using his power especially that the issue right now is already in the Supreme Court for resolution, but is happy that an agreement is reached and is underway between the two parties.
The issue of agrarian reform is one of strongest issues hurled against him during the campaign and promised that Hacienda Luisita will be distributed to beneficiaries in five years during his term if elected. That promise sounded lame and hallow yet people gave him the vote of confidence. Now that he is already the President, Noynoy Aquino is still washing his hands on the issue that should have been resolved decades ago during his mother’s term. Noynoy Aquino is surely playing the role of Pontius Pilate on this.
While he is resolved and uses all his powers as President of the country on his fight for graft and corruption and stopping the financial leakages in the government, he is on the one hand seen as very lame on advancing the welfare of the farmers that had basically fattened the pockets of his family.
It is unfortunate that Noynoy Aquino is hiding under the skirt of fear so as not to be accused of peddling his power as President into a case that from the very beginning has undermined the welfare of the farmers toiling Hacienda Luisita. I wonder why should the President be afraid of being accused of using the powers of his office on advancing the welfare and giving justice to the very people he should defend? Isn’t it primarily his work as President to use everything at his disposal to advance the welfare of the marginalized, particularly the farmers on the issue of Hacienda Luisita?
Noynoy Aquino is just washing his hands while his family is crucifying the farmers for decades now. The management of Hacienda Luisita trades Barabas with cash and 1,000-plus hectares on the agreement over the rights of farmers of owning the more than 4,000 hectares of the estate. Noynoy Aquino and his advisers know very well that the farmers do not deserve this ploy to short change the beneficiaries yet he opts to play the Pontius Pilate for his family.
Bishop Pabillo of the Archdiocese of Manila is right when he said that Pres. Aquino was voted on the platform and now is working of leading the country to the straight and right path. Such platform raises then the issue of Hacienda as his ultimate test: to choose the country and the people over his family’s welfare and influence.
Pres. Aquino still has the time choose: be the Pontius Pilate or the Simon of Cyrene of the farmers.
Image from Hambule