Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Administration, election 2010, GMA, headlines, HLI, Kris Aquino, Liberal party, Noynoy Aquino, Pampanga, President Gloria Arroyo, presidentiable 2010, SCTEX, Senator Benigno Aquino, tarlac, Tribune
By Charlie V. Manalo
The Tarlac portion of the Subic-Clark- Tarlac Expressway (SCTex) was one of President Arroyo’s ways of expressing her gratitude to the Cojuangco-Aquinos who helped her grab power unconstitutionally from then sitting President Joseph Estrada in 2001.
This was disclosed by Tribune sources yesterday.
Rep. Crispin “Boying” Remulla distributed copies of a Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) check for P50 million, representing a government downpayment for the overpriced road right of way (RoW) for the raw land in Hacienda Luisita, the property of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan in Tarlac.
Remulla hinted broadly that the money could have been used to fund the campaign of President Corazon “Cory” Aquino’s son Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s congressional candidacy.
“Imagine constructing a P12-billion road project for a mere 500-hectare industrial park!” Remulla said. “And not to be content with the San Miguel private interchange for the consumption of the Hacienda Luisita, two other interchanges, the Concepcion and La Paz interchanges, both
leading to Hacienda Luisita were constructed.”
Remulla also accused Noynoy of having blood in his hands in connection with the Luisita Massacre as he and his family were engulfed in a quagmire of greed the moment they received the payment for RoW.
“Interestingly, if you analyze the timing of the Luisita Massacre, it occurred in between the payment for the RoW for the Hacienda,” Remulla said as he presented a photo copy of the returned checks issued by the BCDA to HLI as payment to the right of way (RoW) for the 84 hectares of land.
One check with the amount of P50 million as down payment to HLI was dated April 16, 2004 while the other amounting to P25,680,810 representing full payment of the RoW was dated Feb.15,2005.
The break between the Aquino family and the Arroyos came in July, 2005, after the now infamous “Hello Garci” tapes, which contained incriminating conversations beween Arroyo and then Commission on Elections commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano which detailed the electoral cheatng operatons ordered by Arroyo to ensure her fraudulent victory in the presidential elections of 2004.
Aquino had demanded the resignation of Arroyo from the presidency then. Aquino’s demand was not heeded.
“The moment they received their payment for the RoW for Hacienda Luisita, they knew right then and there the value of their property would skyrocket. And by conservative estimate, Hacienda Luisita is now valued at P60 billion. And who would give away that property with that value?” said Remulla.
Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said Noynoy’s echoing of the Cojuangco clan’s position on the question of Hacienda Luisita’s distribution has isolated him not only from farmers but from a large section of the middle class that advocates agrarian reform.
Mariano issued the statement after Aquino, the Liberal Party standard-bearer, in a press conference the other day claimed that the Luisita issue is not as simple as it appears and that “government cannot dictate any solution to the land row.”
“Senator Aquino’s statement that government cannot dictate solution to the land row clearly demonstrates his opposition to Hacienda Luisita’s distribution and genuine agrarian reform,” said Mariano. “The Filipino peasantry cannot expect Aquino to implement genuine agrarian reform.
“By echoing the position of Kamag-anak Inc. on the Luisita land row, Aquino has exposed himself as an anti-peasant and anti-agrarian reform candidate,” the militant lawmaker said.
Kamag-anak Inc. refers to the Cojuangco clan that gained notoriety during the presidency of the late Cory Cojuangco- Aquino.
Aquino said there are more than 10,000 farmers claiming a part of the land but the estate consists of only 4,100 hectares.
He said transferring all the land to a huge number of claimants poses a problem because “obviously you won’t be able to give one hectare to each of them.
“We already heard that position more than 20 years ago when the Cojuangco family was maneuvering to evade Luisita’s distribution,” said Mariano: “Senator Aquino’s statement shows that his family will never let go of Luisita.”
“With Senator Aquino’s anti-agrarian reform position,” Mariano noted, “he will surely find a hard time getting the votes of the peasantry and a large section of the middle sector that advocate agrarian reform.”
Remulla also scored Noynoy saying that contrary to his statement, the Hacienda Luisita row can easily be settled.
“All Noynoy has to do is to ask his family to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to withdraw the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) they have been able to acquire which had effectively stopped the land distribution of Hacienda Luisita to its farm workers,” Remulla said.
“He should tell his family, ‘If you want me to become President of the country, the let us give up what we have to give up’.
“But if Senator Aquino can’t fix up his own backyard, how can he be expected to fix up the entire Philippine backyard?” Remulla pointed out.
“Facts speak for themselves. What agenda of change is Noynoy talking about?” Remulla stressed
“The Cojuangco-Aquino family is indeed the luckiest family under this (Arroyo) administration,” he stressed.
“This family is the luckiest family in the Philippines under the Arroyo administration as they (family members) are not only holding positions in the government but have also cornered juicy contracts including the multi-billion peso dam project in the district of one of President Arroyo’s son,” Remulla said in an earlier forum at the Sulo Hotel.
“And that is on top of the fact that they were gifted by this administration by the P12 billion Tarlac portion of the SCTex project, three interchanges which lead to the Cojuangco-Aquino controlled Hacienda Luisita property,” Remulla added.
According to the Cavite solon, the original plan for the expressway project conceived during the time of former President Estrada did not include the Tarlac portion as the road project was only meant to link the industrial hub of Subic and Clark.
The industrial park of Subic covers around 10,000 hectares while that of Clark covers more than 50,000 hectares.
When Arroyo assumed power in 2001, the Aquinos reportedly lobbied for the Tarlac portion, citing the need to interlink their industrial park to that of Subic and Clark.
However, the industrial park of Tarlac located inside the Hacienda Luisita covers only 500 hectares.
The Tarlac portion suffered a glitch and was nearly cancelled as the Cojuangco- Aquinos intensely lobbied for a compensation of P200 per square meter for the almost 84 hectares of their property the road project would pass through.
The officials of the BCDA refused to budge from the Cojuangco-Aquinos bullying and threatened to cancel the project.
It was at that point, Remulla said that “a very influential member of the Aquino” family called up “a very powerful person” to personally ask her to push through with the project. The “very powerful person” in turn gave the BCDA the go-signal to push through with the Tarlac portion of the SCTex and compensating the Cojuangco-Aquino controlled Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) P100 per square meter or roughly P84 million.
Though refusing to name who the “very influential member of the Aquino family” and the “very powerful person” are, Tribune sources say they were no less than the late Cory Aquino and President Arroyo.
Remulla also tried to portray Noynoy Aquino as being the “secretly anointed” presidential bet of Arroyo, to deflect the popular impression that Sen. Manuel Villar is the anointed presidential bet of Arroyo as Aquino has come up with this charge, on the basis that Villar has refused to criticize Arroyo.
“Noynoy is GMA’s secret candidate,” Remulla said, stressing that his close relatives are with the Arroyo administration, naming them all.
Remulla said the “rift” between the two families is a mere facade of their relationship as the Cojuangco-Aquinos are up to now enjoying a privilege status under the administration.
“If the relationship between the Cojuangco- Aquinos and the Arroyos is indeed as sour as Senator Noynoy’s camp claims it to be, then why is Paul Aquino, Noynoy’s political strategist still with the Arroyo administration?” Remulla asked. “This is not mere coincidence.”
For his part, Villar denied forging any alliance with the outgoing administration of Arroyo to stop an “impending” Aquino administration and throw the monkey wrench into the campaign of Senator Aquino of the Liberal Party.
Villar, who was in Nueva Vizcaya to grace the opening of the Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Association meet told the media that “there was no truth to such allegations which are being crafted by my rivals to destroy the credibility of my campaign.
“Some people cannot accept that a (formerly) poor man like me is running for the presidency without the help of the power elites,” Villar said.
In an ambush interview with media in that province, Villar said it was highly improbable for him to forge an alliance with the administration at this point since “I am very much identified with the opposition.”
The Aquino camp accused Villar of having forged an “unholy alliance” with the administration the Palace spokesman praised Villar and his camp for not engaging in a “hate campaign” against Arroyo and her administration.
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