House leader slams CJ for using Hacienda Luisita to score political points

April 26, 2012 9:21 pm 

By Jose Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, April 26 -– A leader of the House of Representatives and spokesman of the prosecution panel on Thursday admonished impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona for using the Hacienda Luisita issue to cover up his guilt and muddle the public’s perception on the real issues against him.

House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III chided the chief justice for indirectly tampering with the people’s sentiments by using the Hacienda Luisita issue to "smokescreen his guilt and impending conviction" in the Senate impeachment proceedings against him.

"Corona is using the Supreme Court (SC) decision to bludgeon the mind of the public numb to what the public believes as his ill-gotten wealth,” he said.

The SC unanimously voted Tuesday to reaffirm a November 2011 decision to distribute some 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita land to 6,000 farmer beneficiaries.

In its aftermath, Corona had said that he expects some sort of retaliation from the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III after the SC ordered the distribution of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita to farmworker-beneficiaries.

Tanada stressed that there is no connection at all with Hacienda Luisita and the impeachment proceedings.

“The impeachment proceeding is all about the fitness of Corona to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Hacienda Luisita is all about the hacienda workers' right to own the land they till and social justice," he said.

“Corona is trying to lay the blame on President Aquino for his impending conviction when it is his fault and his fault alone for not declaring truthfully his SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth). He should drop his ‘paawa effect’ and just personally testify in the Senate. I do not think the ‘paawa effect’ will work with the Senator-judges," he said.

Meanwhile, Akbayan party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao also condemned Corona’s allegations that the impeachment against him is an act of vendetta for the SC's decision on Hacienda Luisita and said the SC decision could not have been possible without the relentless struggle of the broad peasant movement and different social movements.

“The brave farmers of Hacienda Luisita together with the millions of Filipino peasants in the country are the true victors in this decision. It does not belong to Chief Justice Corona,” Bag-ao said.

“Corona’s statements are a flight of fantasy only meant to score political points against the people’s anti-corruption efforts. They also serve to rob the farmers of their victory by ignoring the fact that this decision of the SC is a result of the decades-long struggle of the broad peasant movement to realize agrarian reform,” she said.

In fact, Bag-ao said, "the spirit that has animated the push for agrarian reform is the same that has called for his impeachment. The quest for justice in the farmlands is no different from the quest to exact accountability from public officials." (PNA) DCT/lgi/CMR


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