‘Justice Is Alive In The Philippines’

This was the principal emotion of Filipino citizens on the Supreme Court’s final decision ordering the distribution of almost 5,000 hectares of land to Hacienda Luisita farmer-beneficiaries.

Hacienda Luisita became a trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday after the ruling was released.

Twitter user Marin Jabin said, “Justice has finally served the people who deserve her!”

User Lar T tweeted, “Hacienda Luisita finally to be distributed to its rightful owners. Buhay ang hustisya sa Pilipinas (Justice is alive in the Philippines).”

While, Twitter user Stephanie Lim said she was happy for the farmers. “I hope that the distribution will happen as soon as possible.”

Television personalities also shared their thoughts through Twitter.

Actress Assunta de Rossi, who is married to Negros Occidental Representative Julio “Jules” Ledesma IV,  said, “Finally, Hacienda Luisita farmers will get what they deserve. Yes to land distribution! No to greed!”

“So happy for the farmers of Hacienda Luisita. Well deserved!” Claudine Trillo tweeted.

Posts on social networking site Facebook also praised the high court’s ruling.

‘Yellow men’

“After a lengthy war, the farmers finally get a taste of vengeance,” said Facebook user Ian Kim P. Gahoy.

“JUSTICE,” said Facebook user Gabriel Borlongan.

Facebook user Jom Pineda said, “The SC justices voted 14-0 for Hacienda Luisita land distribution. Rejoice to Luisita farmers!”

There were also users who were skeptical about the decision.

Twitter user Dinz Francisco said, “Luisita finally to be distributed but I don’t think the yellow men will agree. They will bend all the rules to take it back.”

Hoping for no flip-flop

The sprawling sugar-estate is owned by President Benigno Aquino III’s Cojuanco clan.

Chief Justice Renato Corona has said his impeachment “is a revenge and a shameless attempt to stop the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands.”

“If this is really the end of this case, just how long will it take to distribute the land to the farmers? 1 year, 5 years, 20 years? In the Philippines, the law moves slower than a Carabao,” said user Jon in a comment on INQUIRER.net.

“Hope the SC won’t flip-flop on this. Congrats to the farmers. Use the land wisely,” said user magsasakasanayon in another comment on the Inquirer website.

In the articles of impeachment against Corona, Article 3 refers to the lack of probity, integrity and independence resulting in flip-flopping decisions.

For Philippine Family in Politics, Land Issue Hits Home

HACIENDA LUISITA, the Philippines — Like his father before him, Buenaventura Calaquian worked the sugar cane fields at Hacienda Luisita, a plantation owned by the family of former President Corazon C. Aquino. In the long-running, sometimes bloody battle over control of the land here, Mr. Calaquian, 58, has come out better than most.

For the last few years, he has illegally occupied 3.7 acres on which he cultivates rice and vegetables. He spends most days watching his fields from a makeshift shack whose thatched roof is patched with flattened cardboard boxes. Small profits from tomato sales have allowed him to buy 50 ducks that now swim in a nearby creek.

“I never want to go back to sugar cane,” Mr. Calaquian said as his wife, Maria, 46, used a single bucket to carry water from the creek over to several uneven rows of tomato vines. “This is better.”

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One-on-one debate between Aquino, Villar in the works

A one-on-one debate between the two frontrunners in presidential preference surveys is now in the works, with both standard-bearers of the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Liberal Party (LP) issuing statements that they are ready for a duel of ideas.

In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, LP’s Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III called for a meeting between his camp and that of NP’s Senator Manuel Villar Jr. after the latter accepted Aquino’s challenge for the two to engage in a one-on-one debate.

“I think it’s time to end the proxy war. This would give Sen. Villar a chance to do what he wasn’t able to do on the Senate floor: take direct questions regarding the Senate’s findings on the C-5 deal and other issues that have remained unanswered by him,” Aquino said, adding that he would also take the opportunity to shed light on allegations thrown by some Villar supporters regarding the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita.

Aquino said the meeting between his camp and Villar’s will discuss the venue, date, format, and other details of their impending debate.

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Noynoy: Hacienda Luisita distributed to farmers by 2014

TARLAC- With the ghost of Hacienda Luisita haunting his bid for the presidency, Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III vowed Tuesday to ensure the distribution of the 4,500-hectare plantation to farmer-beneficiaries by June 2014.

Aquino made the promise at a press conference in his family’s ancestral home in Concepcion town, which he chose to be the venue of his electoral campaign’s kick-off. [See: Noynoy seeks God's help at campaign kick-off in Tarlac]

Aquino said he has already asked his extended family – relatives of his mother, the late former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino – to find ways to distribute the land to 10,000 farmer-beneficiaries before the end of the government’s five-year agrarian reform program.

Aquino’s spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Noynoy is committed to ensuring the distribution of Hacienda Luisita land even if he loses in the May elections.

“It’s not just a campaign promise, it’s a matter of principle,” Lacierda told GMANews.TV over the phone.


Hacienda Luisita-SCTEx road controversy to pull down Aquino’s ratings further, says solon

MANILA, Feb. 3 — As the survey ratings of Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP), and Manuel “Manny” Villar, presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party (NP) are now “neck-to-neck” as reported by various pollsters, a lawmaker on Wednesday predicted that Aquino’s ratings would further drop due to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) controversy.

Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a press conference that the alleged overpricing in the construction of the SCTEx and the clamor for the Cojuangcos to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farmers have dampened Aquino’s presidential bid.

Remulla, an ally of Villar, said the national government paid P100 per square meter for the right-of-way (ROW) of SCTEx to parts of the 600-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, when the actual value was only P8 per square meter.

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