DAR ordered to explain inaction on SC order on Hacienda Luisita

Posted on May 12, 2017

THE SUPREME COURT (SC) has directed the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and union group Alyansa ng mga Mangagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita (Ambala) to explain before the Court why they should not be held in contempt for failing to comply with an earlier decision ordering the distribution of land to 6,296 farmer-beneficiaries.

In a resolution dated May 3, the full court issued a show-cause order to DAR and AMBALA within 10 days since the court notice to file their respective explanation.

“Acting on the urgent motion for the issuance of a writ of execution and/or cease and desist dated April 27, 2017, the Court resolved to require respondents Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Alyansa ng mga Mangagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita (Ambala) to comment thereon and show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for disobeying the decision dated July 5, 2011 and the resolutions dated November 22, 2011 and April 24, 2012 both within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice hereof,” the Court order reads.

To recall, the high court, in a decision promulgated on Nov. 22, 2011, unanimously ruled that the 4,915.75 hectares of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac province, north of Metro Manila, should be distributed to 6,296 beneficiaries of a land reform program initiated by the late former president Corazon C. Aquino in 1988.

This would effectively allow each beneficiary to own 0.78 hectare. The hacienda’s total land area is 6,435 hectares.

The said decision reversed a ruling on July 5, 2011, that upheld the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council -- the policy-making body on land reform -- which revoked in 2005 a stock-sharing scheme instead of land distribution for the hacienda.

On April 24 the next year, the SC affirmed its previous decision, junking the motion for reconsideration filed by Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI).

The SC in its resolution was acting on an Urgent Motion for Issuance of a Writ of Execution and/or Cease and Desist Order filed by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) last April 27.

RCBC is a convenor in the case. Part of land initially owned by HLI was sold to RCBC. The sold land area, covering roughly 500 hectares, is exempted from distribution. -- Kristine Joy V. Patag