July 8, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact Person: Adrian Baccay @ 0927 430 8021
Supreme Court decision on Hda. Luisita is encroachment into the powers of the Executive – Akbayan solon
“The Supreme Court, in its decision on the Hacienda Luisita case, has encroached into the realm of the Executive department especially that of the Department of Agrarian Reform” declares Akbayan Representative Kaka Bag-ao.
In a press conference with other leaders of the CARPER for Hacienda Luisita Movement, the lawmaker said that portions of the controversial decision of the high court appears like an administrative or executive order. “The Supreme Court did was not satisfied with just upholding the assailed resolution of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and lifting the temporary restraining order, it went on to enumerate details on how the Department of Agrarian Reform will implement the decision. The specifics of the implementation of agrarian reform are best left to the Department of Agrarian Reform as it is the primary government agency that has the competence and expertise in implementing agrarian reform. It is really strange that the high court has made this foray outside its jurisdiction and realm of competency” Bag-ao said.
Bag-ao also hit the Supreme Court’s decision on the validity of the stock distribution option agreement (SDOA). “How can the SDOA remain valid if the Stock Distribution Plan (SDP), of which the SDOA is a part of, has been nullified?” Bag-ao asked.
Bag-ao said that she finds it interesting that the Supreme Court went into a lot of “legal acrobatics” to justify the referendum. Bag-ao agrees with the Justice Lourdes Sereno who, in her dissenting opinion, said that the SDP and the SDOA has no legal basis. “How can the Supreme Court give the farmers an option that has no basis in law? Why would the Supreme Court bend over backwards just to accommodate a referendum?” Bag-ao asked.
Moreover, Bag-ao said that only HLI is stand to gain if a referendum is conducted as they are given an opportunity to salvage the SDP which has been nullified by the Supreme Court decision.
“As admitted by the FWBs themselves, their past experiences with elections (approval 1989 SDOA and the 2010 compromise agreement) indicate that there can never be a truthful referendum and that there is no environment of free and informed choice in HLI. The Supreme Court only made the farmers vulnerable to the machinations of HLI. The referendum is not anchored on any law. In fact, the Supreme Court overstepped its authority by encroaching upon the executive functions of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR),” Bag-ao said.
“Unless and until there is actual land distribution, there can be no agrarian reform. The Constitution mandates ownership of the land and liberation from bondage to the soil. We should not settle for anything less than that. And not even a confusing decision can stop us,” Bag-ao concluded. ###