[In the Web] Hacienda Luisita: Pres. Cory Aquino’s unfinished business

The Aquino Legacy: Unfinished Business. Photo from araphoenix.com.


By Raissa Robles

In May 1987, the independent polling organizationSocial Weather Stations gave then President Corazon Aquino the findings of a “preliminary and confidential [and] non-commissioned” survey showing most Filipinos wanted her to distribute Hacienda Luisita to the tenants.

The timing of the survey release was important. Mrs Aquino could still do something about the survey results since she still wielded law-making powers under the Freedom Constitution.

The survey response showed Filipinos were overwhelmingly for Mrs Aquino using her vast powers to effect  land redistribution:

SWS 1985 survey on land reform. Photo from http://raissarobles.com.

Why Pres. Cory did not follow survey

One of the Palace insiders I have talked to since, told me why President Cory Aquino never used her vast revolutionary powers to implement a sweeping and genuine land reform program that covered huge landed estates like that of her family. I was told she was pressured by her oldest brother, the clan patriarch Pedro Cojuangco – the man who died recently – and by her own brother Peping Cojuangco, not to distribute the land to the farmers.

Fernando Cojuangco has actually told listeners – “Over my dead body”

A separate source also told me about hearing Pedro Cojuangco’s son, Fernando, say something aloud during a gathering when the conversation wandered to land reform and Hacienda Luisita.

Fernando Cojuangco told his listeners: “Over my dead body.”

Perhaps his remark showed how passionately he felt about the land. He is after all the administrator of Hacienda Luisita.

The Cojuangco lawyer’s recent statement, though, seems to show a kind of softening.

Why do I write about such a divisive issue at this time?

Because it is one of the unfinished business of President Cory Aquino and the entire Filipino nation. We cannot move forward as a nation because of this. The energies of many Filipinos are devoted to blocking land reform or trying to ram it through.

The communist rebellion continues to feed on this issue.

Landlords like Congresswoman Hortencia-Starke threatened to revolt in order to keep their vast haciendas. Here's what she gave reporters. Photo from http://raissarobles.com.

Read more at http://raissarobles.com/2011/11/25/hacienda-luisita-pres-cory-aquinos-unfinished-business/



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