Luisita Magsasaka

Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita Massacre?

Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita Massacre?

Jhaivie Basilio, 20

Jhaivie was the youngest of the victims who died. He worked part-time at Central Azucarera de Tarlac, cleaning sugarcane every Monday, to earn money after he stopped going to college when his father died six months before the massacre. His mother said Jhaivie was a homebody, but he went to support the strike because almost all the children in his barangay were children of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, and he understood what they were fighting for.

Jhavie was shot when he tried to climb up one of the fire trucks after the military tank broke through the gate of the sugar mill. He was hit on the thigh. As he tried to crawl away, soldiers went to him and hit his face with a rifle butt. A soldier tied barbed wire around his neck, hung his body on a fence, then shot him in the chest. His body was found at 3:00 am the next day along with two other victims. A photo of Jhaivie holding a gun was released. He and the two others were accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Jhune David, 27

Jhune came from a family of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita. His late father and 3 of his 9 siblings were farm workers. He started working in the sugarcane fields at age 18. Jhune worked at the sugar mill for 9 years and was a member of the workers’ union until his death. He was shot on the right shoulder, and was taken to the hospital in the sugar mill compound. His body was later found outside the compound. During the wake at the sugar mill, an unidentified couple went to his coffin, lifted his shirt, and took photos. He was later shown in the news as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

(On November 24, 2004, a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the statements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) about the massacre said that “The NPA angle surfaced after one of the fatalities, Jun David, was found to be a member of the group which is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.”)
Jhune left behind a wife and one child.

Jesus Laza, 34

Jesus was a farm worker in Hacienda Luisita from 1984 to 1990. Unable to make ends meet, he tried working in Manila. He returned to the hacienda in 1991 to work as a sugarcane cutter and sell dried fish during milling season. For more than a decade, Jesus sold food in buses plying the San Fernando-Tarlac route, until he decided to return to the hacienda, his true home, with his family of farm workers. Instead of selling food in buses, he sold food at the picket line near the gate of the sugar mill. This was where he died when he was shot on the back of the leg and on the right chest while running away from the shooting.

Jessie Valdez, 30

Jessie tried working in Sanyo, UFC, and Kawasaki at the Luisita industrial park, but went back to his true calling as a farm worker. He was shot by snipers positioned on the sugar mill’s water tower. Jessie was taken to Camp Aquino before being transferred to a funeral home. His family was able to retrieve his body only on the day after the massacre. The autopsy showed marks on his fingers and hips that indicated torture. The report showed he bled to death. His wife was pregnant with their fourth child when he died.

Juancho Sanchez, 20

Juancho was a college student at the State University of Tarlac who temporarily stopped schooling and worked as a jeepney driver to help with the tuition of his two younger sisters. His father was a former farm worker who became a pastor. Juancho himself was an active member of a Christian youth fellowship. He went to the picket line to sympathize with the hardship of the workers. On the day he died, Juancho still drove his jeepney in the morning and had lunch at home in Barangay Balete inside Hacienda Luisita. He then said goodbye to his father to go to the picket line. That was the last time his father saw him alive. The autopsy report showed Sanchez died from a gunshot that exited from his lower back, but his family said his face and feet had indications that he was first taken alive and beaten.

Adriano Caballero, Jr., 23

Adriano was born and raised in Hacienda Luisita. He and his father were caddies at the golf course owned by the Cojuangcos. One of his siblings worked at the sugar mill and was a member of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU). Adriano had gone to the picket line to support a friend. Adriano’s wife was five months pregnant when he died.

Jaime Pastidio, 46

Jaime became a farm worker in Hacienda Luisita in 1974. His father and 3 of his 7 siblings were also farm workers. Jaime was shot while running for cover when gunfire broke out after the tank broke through the gate of the sugar mill. Some protesters tried to run back and help him, but soldiers fired at their feet before they could reach Jaime. They saw the military take him inside the hacienda’s hospital, which was then shut down by soldiers. The next day, his family was told that he was dead. Jaime had been working in the hacienda for 30 years.

(From a report by Lisa Ito, and interviews with the victims’ relatives by members of the International Solidarity Mission. The International Solidarity Mission was a group of 80 foreign human rights advocates that visited various areas in the Philippines, including Hacienda Luisita, in August 2005 to look into human rights violations.)


Metropac: SCTex contract cost “unrealistic”

MetroPac: SCTEx contract cost ‘unrealistic’ BusinessWorld | 02/09/2010 11:21 AM MANILA, Philippines –

Financial terms required by the government agency bidding out the contract to operate the country’s longest tollway are “unrealistic,” according to businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan. Traffic volume at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) remains small and whoever wins the operation and management or O&M contract will have to shell out a huge sum for subsidies, he said in an interview last Friday. State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is considering the financial offer of Manila North Tollways Corp., a unit of listed Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. which is part of the Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp., for the 94-kilometer SCTEx. The BCDA had actually rejected the financial offer of Manila North Tollways, although it passed technical requirements. Another bidder, Northlink Toll Management, Inc., a joint venture between San Miguel Corp. and Star Tollways Corp., was declared “ineligible” for failing to comply with the technical requirements. Both firms are appealing the BCDA’s decisions. Under BCDA’s terms, the winning bidder must bear the “operational funding requirements for the management, operations and maintenance of the SCTEx including periodic maintenance works, special/major/emergency works and all other additional works, and insurance.” The winner must also provide management services, toll collection, traffic safety and security management, tollroad maintenance including greenery and landscaping, and other related services. The BCDA wants a semiannual lease or concession fee amounting to either the peso equivalent of the yen-dominated loan taken out by the government to finance the tollway’s construction as well as all financing charges; or 20% of audited gross revenues, whichever is higher. Mr. Pangilinan, who is also chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Co., said the BCDA’s requirements were “unrealistically high.” “Let me put it this way. The traffic and the revenues that are being generated by SCTEx are not sufficient to service that loan, period.” “So the concessionaire will have to subsidize and incur a loss. But who will do that for a number of years? Who would want to lose money?” he asked. BCDA officials could not be reached for a comment. The BCDA had estimated the annual loan payments to Japanese creditors at P1.2 billion starting 2011. The loan for the SCTEx project amounted to P26 billion. “I think their financial terms are unrealistic in relation to the projected traffic. The conces-sionaires will have to lose money in the first year,” Mr. Pangilinan said. Last year, more than 18,000 vehicles used the SCTEx daily on average. The original projection was an average of 35,000 vehicles daily in the first year of operation. The tollway is being operated temporarily by Tollways Management Corp., which is 46% owned by Metro Pacific Tollways. Manila North Tollways operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), which is connected to SCTEx in Pampanga. It hiked profits by 16% to P1.17 billion on revenues of P4.07 billion from January to September 2009, when an average of 149,164 vehicles passed through NLEx. Metro Pacific is the Philippine unit of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., which partly owns PLDT. Mediaquest Holdings, Inc., owned by the Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT, has a minority stake in BusinessWorld. Shares in Metro Pacific stayed at P2.22 apiece yesterday after shedding 4% on Friday. is the online news department of ABS-CBN Interactive Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. ABS-CBN and Meralco are both part of the Lopez Group of Companies. SCTEx controversy bigger than C-5, says Villar ally by Carmela Fonbuena, | 01/21/2010 12:54 AM MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino family should pay the government for the construction of the interchange in Hacienda Luisita, which is estimated to be worth around P170 million, an ally of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar said. At the continuation of the House oversight committee hearing Wednesday on alleged irregularities in the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin ‘Boying’ Remulla said the family of presidential survey frontrunner Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III should refund the government for the purchase of the allegedly overpriced right-of-way property for the SCTEx road project. He claimed that regular government procedure mandates the landowner should give the property to the government at zero cost. “Interchanges in private properties have to be paid for by the private property owners. He should donate the right-of-way. They [Aquinos] still have the industrial land,” Remulla said. Remulla also claimed that the SCTEx road controversy is “bigger” than the C-5 road extension project scandal against Villar. “’Yong kay Villar, zonal value ang pinag-uusapan. Hindi overpriced. Dito may interchange pa. Ang laki ng kanilang pakinabang masyado,” Remulla said. No overprice, no payment needed Sought for comment by, Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda said the interchange “need not be paid because the contractors designed the Luisita toll to be the end point.” In a text message, he said the interchange was “supposed to promote commerce between Subic and the Luisita industrial zone corridor.” Lacierda also said Remulla has not presented evidence that the right-of-way property was overpriced. “He has been mouthing overprice without proof. Government officials have already testified to the non-overpricing. This is not C-5,” Lacierda said. He said Remulla should not “divert the issue.” During Wednesday’s hearing, retired Brig. Gen. Robert Gervacio, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) program manager for SCTEx’s operational and support services, cleared Aquino of any wrongdoing in the project. “Everything is aboveboard. There was no contact between BCDA and Senator Aquino,” Gervacio said in response to questions raised by Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, a guest senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party. Extraordinary transaction? Philippine National Construction Corp. President Maria Teresa Defensor on Wednesday’s hearing testified that the government does not ordinarily pay private landowners for right-of-way properties in government projects because the private landowner presumably benefits from the construction of a national road. Defensor also testified that the Toll Regulatory Board, which processes applications for interchanges in major road projects, does not normally pay for the construction of interchanges in private lands. She said there’s a process where private landowners apply for the construction of an interchange and, if approved, shoulder the full cost of construction. This is also because the value of the land will presumably increase, and the landowner benefits from the rise in property values resulting from the infrastructure project. “Ang suwerte naman nila masyado. The value of the industrial land is now P1,000 per hectare because of the interchange,” Remulla said. The cost of the interchange built inside the Hacienda Luisita complex was shouldered by the government and funded through a loan from the Japan Bank and International Corp. It is a flagship project of President Gloria Arroyo. Just lucky? However, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)-SCTEx project engineering chief retired general Eduardo Lena explained that the government paid for the construction of the interchange because it was part of the original plan for SCTEx. The hearing failed to directly link Senator Aquino to the allegedly irregular transaction. The BCDA had negotiated with Senator Aquino’s uncle, Pedro Cojuangco. But Remulla said Senator Aquino should still be held accountable. “It’s the uncle. It’s just one family you are dealing with. And he is a direct beneficiary. He cannot control his family. Patay malisya siya pag family ang involved. Pero nakinabang siya,” he said. Remulla added that it is also a taxpayers’ issue because the people will shoulder the cost of the loan. SCTEx controversy The SCTex controversy began in November 2009 with Remulla’s allegations that Senator Aquino’s family benefited from the allegedly overpriced sale of the right-of-way property. The property was sold for P100 per hectare. Remulla questioned it because the zonal value was only P8, he said. The controversy has since branched out into several other allegations of irregularities such as: -Senator Aquino’s family allegedly failed to fairly distribute to the farmers their share in the sale of the right-of-way property; -The contraction of the interchange inside the Hacienda Luisita was allegedly irregular; -The Cojuangco family has allegedly not been paying government royalty fees for the quarrying activities inside Hacienda Luisita. Remulla also revived calls for the Cojuangco family to distribute Hacienda Luisita to the farmers. Remulla said there will be two to three more hearings on the controversy.

Contributor: Maria Elizabeth Embry

Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will


This week the country commemorates the tragic shooting of protesting farmers on January 22, 1987, an incident better known as the Mendiola massacre. Along with the Hacienda Luisita massacre of November 16, 2004, these two incidents represent the darker side of the Aquino legacy.

The struggle between farmers and landowners of Hacienda Luisita is now being seen as the first real test of character of presidential candidate Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino, whose family has owned the land since 1958. Our research shows that the problem began when government lenders obliged the Cojuangcos to distribute the land to small farmers by1967, a deadline that came and went. Pressure for land reform on Luisita since then reached a bloody head in 2004 when seven protesters were killed near the gate of the sugar mill in what is now known as the Luisita massacre. This is the story of the hacienda and its farmers, an issue that is likely to haunt Aquino as he travels the campaign trail for the May 2010 elections. Part one is here.

Second of a series

“Hindi ka nag-iisa (You are not alone),” sing the ghosts of Luisita to Senator Noynoy Aquino. They won’t even leave his music video alone.

Noynoy Aquino’s Campaign Music Video

A little-known fact about the Hacienda Luisita controversy is the haunting resemblance of Senator Aquino’s “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa” music video to a real-life, torch-lit march of Luisita’s workers amid the sugarcane fields at night days before the November 16, 2004 massacre.

Sa Ngalan ng Tubo documentary about Hacienda Luisita (Torch scenes from 1:17 – 1:29)

A better known fact, but in danger of being forgotten, is the series of salvagings that took place after the massacre to eliminate those who supported the workers’ cause, or had evidence supporting their case. Among those killed were one Senate witness, two Aglipayan priests, a union president, a city councilor, and two peasant group leaders.

What could be worth all the blood that has been spilled? And why is everyone looking at Senator Aquino?

The answer lies in another little-known fact—a contentious 30-year stock distribution scheme that was implemented in lieu of land distribution on his family’s plantation that seriously complicates the campaign theme “good vs. evil.”

The dark side of the Aquino legacy

Part Two of this series on Hacienda Luisita begins in 1989, the year the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was introduced at the hacienda after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) took effect in 1988.

Senator Noynoy Aquino’s mother, President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, was accused of including the SDO in her outline for CARP (Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229, July 22, 1987) so her family could once again avoid distributing Hacienda Luisita to farmers.

Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future
See Part One for the history of the farmers’ claim in Hacienda Luisita.

(The SDO was a clause in CARP that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land. It was abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER, or CARP with Extensions and Revisions, that was passed in August 2009.)


The excluded areas caused the undervaluation of the farm workers’ share in HLI, explained Eduardo Tadem, member of the technical working group of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), in an October 20, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

(In the same report, Tadem said the PARC, which was chaired by President Cory Aquino, had ignored a study of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) showing Luisita’s farm workers could earn more with 0.78 hectares of land instead of stocks.)

The remaining 4,915.75 hectares that were submitted to CARP were “independently appraised by Asian Appraisal and the Securities and Exchange Commission” at P40,000 per hectare, according to an August 30, 1989 article in the Manila Bulletin written by the Aquino administration’s Solicitor General, Frank Chavez, to defend Luisita’s SDO.

The valuation of P40,000 per hectare represents an enormous difference from the valuation of about P500,000 per hectare and P219,000 per hectare respectively for the excluded 120.9 hectares of residential land and 265.7 hectares of land improvements that were retained by the Cojuangcos.

The SDO gravely damaged the potential of land reform to deliver social justice to scores of rural poor, whose votes had ironically been courted by President Aquino in 1986 by promising land reform.

Aquino’s abrogation left such a deep scar that even the New York Times, in its announcement of her passing on August 1, 2009, did not let it slip: “Born into one of the country’s wealthy land-owning families, the Cojuangcos of Tarlac, Mrs. Aquino did not lead the social revolution that some had hoped for. She failed to institute effective land reform or to address the country’s fundamental structural ailment, the oligarchic control of power and politics.”

Cojuangcos give stocks instead of land

In 1989, the Cojuangcos justified Luisita’s SDO by saying it was impractical to divide the hacienda’s 4,915.75 hectares of land among 6,296 farm workers, as this would result in less than one hectare each (0.78). A study by the private group Center for Research & Communication (now University of Asia & the Pacific) was cited to support this claim.

The claim was contradicted by a study of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), which stated that the farm workers could still earn more with 0.78 hectares of land each than stocks. But the NEDA study was ignored by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), according to Eduardo Tadem, a member of the technical working group of PARC who spoke out in an October 20, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The PARC was chaired by President Cory Aquino.

In 2005, after its investigation into the Luisita massacre, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) also debunked the claim that economies of scale justified Luisita’s SDO. The DAR said the issue of economies of scale could have been addressed under Section 29 of CARP, which states that workers’ cooperatives should be created in cases where dividing land was not feasible.

In the column of Domini Torrevillas in the Philippine Star last Jan. 19, however, Noynoy declared: “Neither I nor the farmers are satisfied with the government’s land reform program. We have seen in Hacienda Luisita that this does not work. Luisita, which was then called Tabacalera Land, used to be 12,000 hectares. The company voluntarily gave half or 6,000 hectares for the Land Tenure Act. That is why Luisita today is only an approximate 5,500 hectares. However, the people who were provided land ended up losing or selling their property. Most of them returned to their lives as Luisita workers.

“This shows that mere land distribution is not beneficial to farmers. We cannot just transfer land to a farmer and say, ‘I am done with you.’ We need to teach him until he becomes a manager, becomes the agriculture business planner, the cooperative member. We must help him find means to buy biological pest control, natural fertilizers, pesticides and farm implements.”

Farmers asked to vote on SDO

On May 9, 1989, Luisita’s farm workers were asked to choose between stocks or land in a referendum. The SDO won 92.9% of the vote. A second referendum and information campaign were held on October 14, 1989, and again the SDO won, this time by a 96.75% vote.

In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert James Putzel expressed doubt that the farmers understood the choice that was presented to them. “The outcome of the vote was entirely predictable,” he wrote. “The balance of power in the country favored families like the Cojuangcos. The problem was not really that the farm workers were denied the right to choose . . . it was rather that [they] were denied an environment that would allow them to identify what their choices were.”

(Dr. James Putzel did extensive research on agrarian reform in the Philippines between the late 1980s to the early 1990s. He is currently a Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics.)

Even before the second referendum was held, Father Joaquin Bernas, the President of the Ateneo de Manila University and a member of the commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, pointed out the inconsistency of Luisita’s SDO with the Constitution in his June 27, 1989 column in the Manila Chronicle. “The [SDO] is a loophole because it does not support the Constitution’s desire that the right of farmers to become owners of the land they till should be promoted by government,” Bernas said.

UP Center of Law calls Luisita SDO illegal

A year after Father Bernas spoke out, the University of the Philippines Center of Law also called Luisita’s SDO illegal in a paper it submitted to the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform in June 1990. The paper questioned the morality, propriety, and constitutionality of a plan that allowed the landlord to retain controlling interest at the expense of farmer beneficiaries.

President Cory Aquino replied that the paper was just the opinion of one professor. But she said she would look into it.

The Department of Justice then issued a legal opinion affirming the constitutionality of the SDO, saying an act of the legislature, approved by the executive, was presumed valid within the limits of the Constitution unless nullified in court.

The legislature back then was dominated by landlords, including President Aquino’s brother, Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr., the top decision-maker in Hacienda Luisita.

Cojuangco was “at the head of the landlord juggernaut” in Congress, according to a June 13, 1993 report of writer Antonio Ma. Nieva in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Justice who issued the legal opinion saying Luisita’s SDO was constitutional was Aquino stalwart Franklin Drilon.

Drilon is currently chairman of the Liberal Party, whose standard-bearer is Senator Noynoy Aquino.

Corporation formed before vote

In his book A Captive Land, Putzel also noted that Hacienda Luisita, Inc (HLI), the company formed by the Cojuangcos to operationalize Luisita’s SDO, was incorporated in August 1988—nine months before the farm workers were first asked to choose between stocks or land in May 1989.

This bred suspicion that the SDO was considered a done deal early on, and the two rounds of voting with the farmers were only organized to give an appearance of transparency.

Aquino appointees in charge of DAR

Adding to the cloud of doubt was President Aquino’s perceived influence over the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) because she had the power to appoint the department’s head.
The Agrarian Reform Secretary who oversaw the farmers’ vote in Luisita in May 1989 was Philip Juico, the husband of Margie Juico, a close friend of President Aquino who also served as her Appointments Secretary.

In July 1989, Aquino replaced Phillip Juico with “graft buster” Miriam Defensor-Santiago after Juico’s name was dragged into the Garchitorena land scam.

The Garchitorena land scam
The implementation of CARP during the term of President Cory Aquino was rocked by a number of scandals, one of them the Garchitorena land scam. See how the land scam was linked to President Aquino.

Very early into her role, Santiago, a former judge, told the media that there were “serious flaws in the law against which I am powerless” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 21, 1989). Santiago ended up giving Luisita’s SDO the go-signal in November 1989.

Two months later, Aquino replaced Santiago. Many years later, Santiago said Aquino removed her because of something she said about Luisita.

In Santiago’s place, Aquino appointed Florencio “Butch” Abad. Abad lasted only three months because the Commission on Appointments repeatedly refused to confirm his appointment.
Abad is currently the campaign manager of Senator Noynoy Aquino.

Cojuangcos assume majority control

In 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of Hacienda Luisita was pegged at 33%, while 67% was retained by the Cojuangcos.

How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita
When the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was implemented in Luisita in 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of the hacienda was pegged at 33%, while 67% was retained by the Cojuangcos. See how the Cojuangcos were able to gain control of the corporation.

Luisita’s SDO agreement spelled out a 30-year schedule for transferring stock to the farm workers:

“At the end of each fiscal year, for a period of 30 years, the SECOND PARTY (HLI) shall arrange with the FIRST PARTY (TADECO) the acquisition and distribution to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers) on the basis of number of days worked and at no cost to them of one-thirtieth (1/30) of 118,391,976.85 shares of the capital stock of the SECOND PARTY (HLI) that are presently owned and held by the FIRST PARTY (TADECO), until such time as the entire block of 118,391,976.85 shares shall have been completely acquired and distributed to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers).”

The impact of this provision was far-reaching.

Stocks not transferred to farmers

The stocks representing the farm workers’ full 33% share were not transferred to them in 1989, but were spread over “a period of 30 years” with only “one-thirtieth (1/30)” released every year. At this rate, it would take until 2019 for the farm-worker beneficiaries to receive their complete set of stocks. While their shares remained undistributed, these were “owned and held” by the Cojuangco company TADECO (Tarlac Development Corporation).

Thus, the common belief that 33% of Hacienda Luisita has been owned by farm workers since CARP was implemented in 1989 is not entirely accurate, because the full transfer of stocks did not happen in 1989.

Farmers asked to work for “free” stocks

The farm workers also had to continuously render labor to receive shares, because distribution was based “on the number of days worked”. If a worker quit or if management fired him, he no longer got the undistributed portion of his shares. If management cut work days, distribution of shares was also affected.

Complicating things further was a separate provision that set the annual payroll as the basis for deciding who could get shares at the end of each year. As names on the payroll changed every year when workers left or joined the company, the list of shareholders grew longer and longer, diluting the entitlement of the original beneficiaries. In 1989, there were 6,296 farm-worker beneficiaries in Luisita. By 2005, there were 11,955 names on the HLI stockholder list. Not all of the 11,955 remained employed with HLI, or were part of the original 6,296 beneficiaries.


“The hacienda tenants voluntarily agreed to give up land distribution for shares of stock of the corporation”, and have enjoyed the fruits of their “wise decision”.
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 25, 2007)

“The only reason we got [into Luisita] to begin with was the people asked for us, or we were acceptable to them. There was a labor problem sometime in the 1950s, when I wasn’t still around.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 13, 2009)

On the farmers’ plea to have Luisita’s SDO contract revoked so land can be distributed: “The Constitution talks of inviolability of contracts.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 10, 2009)

“We want to leave only when we have formulated the plan on how they could pay the debts of the corporate farm. When that has been cleared, then we could bid goodbye [to Luisita management].”
(Manila Times, November 13, 2009)

“The problems descending a sunset industry like the sugar industry were exploited by quarters outside the hacienda. The net result is that the people who had jobs from 1958-2004 have lost their jobs.”
(Statement emailed to GMANews.TV on December 7, 2009)

“We are working for the restoration of jobs. Those who are forcing us to speak on this matter are not after the welfare of my former constituents, but to advance their propaganda aims.”
(Statement emailed to GMANews.TV on December 7, 2009)

Stock distribution suddenly accelerated

After the November 2004 massacre and subsequent investigation by the DAR, HLI announced on June 9, 2005 that it had given out all undistributed stocks “in one supreme act of good faith,” about 15 years ahead of the 30-year schedule.

It is believed this was done because the 30-year distribution period was a loophole. Way back in 1995, Dr. Jeffrey M. Riedinger, currently Dean of International Studies at Michigan State University, already said the 30-year distribution period seemed “without basis in the law” in his book Agrarian Reform in the Philippines: Democratic Transitions and Redistributive Reform.

(Section 11 of DAR Administrative Order No. 10, Series of 1988 states that stocks should be transferred to beneficiaries within 60 days after the SDO is implemented. HLI had not yet been issued a Certificate of Compliance by the DAR since 1989 because the full transfer of stocks had not happened.)

Like Father Bernas in 1989 and the UP Center of Law in 1990, Riedinger also said the SDO “appears to violate the constitutional mandate that ownership of agricultural lands be redistributed to the regular farm workers cultivating them.”

3% production share and home lots

Under the SDO, Luisita’s farm workers were entitled to two new perks: they were allotted a 3% share in the gross production output of the hacienda, and some were given home lots inside the plantation. The farm workers make clear, however, that these were mandated by law under Section 30 and Section 32 of CARP, not voluntary acts of generosity of the Cojuangcos.

The 3% production share never went beyond P1,120 per farm worker per year. The titles of the home lots also have problems, which this report will not get into now.

About 5 years after the SDO was implemented, management began to claim that HLI was losing money. The farm workers’ wages plateaued and their work days were cut.

Meanwhile, a mall and industrial park were sprouting on the portion of the hacienda closest to McArthur Highway. Losing money but building a mall? the farmers brooded. Something was up.

Conversion—the real plan

On September 1, 1995, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tarlac passed a resolution reclassifying 3,290 out of Luisita’s 4,915 hectares from agricultural to commercial, industrial, and residential. The governor of Tarlac province at that time was Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, wife of Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. Out of the 3,290 reclassified hectares, 500 were approved for conversion by the DAR.

As land was being converted, the area left for farming grew smaller and smaller. More work days were cut, and wages were practically frozen. Mechanization also reduced the need for manual labor.

Then, a master plan commissioned in 1998 by the Luisita Realty Corporation, a subsidiary of Jose Cojuangco and Sons, was unearthed. It showed the company’s long-term intention to convert the hacienda into a business and residential hub, with no areas left for agriculture. (That land use plan from 1998 already contained the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway or SCTEx, which was completed in 2007, and is now the subject of allegations in Congress against Senator Noynoy Aquino and his family, instigated by his electoral rivals.)

The farm workers began to fear for their jobs, without any assurances of receiving their 33% equity share in the sale of the converted land.

Mass retrenchment

By 2003, the farm workers’ daily wage was down to P194.50 (P9.50 after deductions for salary loans and other items), and work days were down to 1 per week.

They finally saw the futility of having four board seats against management’s seven (the SDO agreement allotted 4 board seats to the farm workers ahead of the 30-year waiting period for their stocks). They were always going to be outvoted. They also feared that their board representatives could easily be manipulated because they were not as well-versed as management in corporate matters.

The SDO had to go, they concluded.

The union leaders scrabbled together a petition to revoke the SDO and stop land conversion in Luisita. It was signed by 5,339 farm workers and filed at the Department of Agrarian Reform on December 4, 2003. In July 2004, the union tried to negotiate a wage increase to P225 per day. They also asked for an increase in work days to 2-3 days per week. Management said no, saying the company was losing money.

Management then issued notices retrenching 327 farm workers effective October 1, 2004. A month later came the workers’ strike, then the massacre.


To Noynoy Aquino: Your own backyard first backhoe!

What is happening to our country? It seems like the word “massacre” is spreading like a virus and all the victims are having a hard time to claim justice.

Buti ang mga magnanakaw nahuhuli agad.

Pero ang mga mamamatay tao, Malaya pa din nakakagalaga sa ating bansa.

The Mendiola Massacre happened during the 80’s followed by the enormous gruesome slaughter in Hacienda Luisita Massacre and both are under the Aquino’s power.

Paano ka magtitiwala muli sa angkan ng mga Aquino? Kung ang parehong madudugong pangyayari ay walang nakamit na hustisya? Buhay ang nawala dahil sa walang saysay na kamatayan… kung meron man ito ay ang nagsilbi ng buong puso ang mga magsasaka ng hacienda luisita upang mapaunlad an gating ekonomiya pero ito pa ang napala naming. Sweldo na hindi makatarungan at kamatayang di malilimutan.

Nagpalabas ng pahayag ang kampo ni Aquino para sa suporta nila sa Maguindanao Massacre at sadyang nakakainis hindi dahil sa tinutulungan nila ang mga nabiktima nito makamit ang hustisya na para sa kanila kundi inuuna pa ni Senator noynoy ang Maguindanao Massacre na kung saan sinabi sa kanyang news letter:

Laban na Tapat

Laban ng Lahat

Last week saw a grisly carnage that outraged a nation. And though we might be unable to fathom what lurks in the twisted minds and dark hearts of monsters, one thing is certain: There is something seriously awry in the system that a crime against humanity such as this was allowed to happen.

The Maguindanao Massacre is the very manifestation of the corruption, the abuse, the arrogance in government. No holds barred, it is evil incarnate, allowed to roam in our motherland, to feed off the earth we till. And they dare to call themselves leaders.

It is against this backdrop that the first words of the Aquino-Roxas platform strike momentously: the national leadership is in need of transformational change, the people are crying out for change.

The game is afoot. With the overturning of the Penera decision by the Supreme Court, the political season is in full swing from now until May. It will be vicious, it will be cruel. But we will stand our ground.

We will remain steadfast because there is a hope, a dream, a change, a promise, a nation, a people and a future at stake. We will not waver because this, above all, is a fight for Justice: for the victims of the massacre, and the victims of a corrupted leadership. Ito’y laban na tapat, laban ng lahat.

~ Nina Sanchez,

Ito ang Aming Tugon sa Sulat na ito:

Laban na Tapat

Laban ng Lahat

It was November 16 2004 we saw a grisly carnage that outraged a nation. And though we might be unable to fathom what lurks in the twisted minds and dark hearts of monsters, one thing is certain: There is something seriously awry in the system that a crime against humanity such as this was allowed to happen.

The HACIENDA LUISITA MASSACRE is the very manifestation of the corruption, the abuse, the arrogance in government. No holds barred, it is evil incarnate, allowed to roam in our motherland, to feed off the earth we till. And they dare to call themselves leaders.

We will not waver because this, above all, is a fight for Justice: for the victims of the massacre, and the victims of a corrupted leadership.

Senator Noynoy Aquino if you are truly a God fearing as always seen on your Ads, kindly have a heart us justice,

Hacienda Luisita Farmers, whom your people outrageously killed.

The Trapo system has been continually conducted in Hacienda Luisita Inc.

I don’t think we can afford another Aquino Administration if you can’t simply address the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, more importantly how come you boast about change in your platform if you yourself can’t make this misery end and give us what we are entitled to: Justice to the slaughtered farmers and unjust low wages that can’t even give us a decent meal a day. (P9.50/ week)

Sen. Noynoy Aquino supported the Hacienda Luisita dispersal?
January 4, 2010, 6:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,


The Liberal Party has been focused on building up their campaign on Senator Noynoy Aquino’s integrity and character. They’re painting him as some sort of modern day saint. For years, the Aquino family has been hounded by the Hacienda Luisita massacre. When Noynoy declared his candidacy for the President, it was natural that he had to face this same ghost. His supporters and his team said that he had nothing to do with it whatsoever. Just recently a video surfaced on Youtube and Facebook which shows news clippings of Senator Noynoy Aquino (a congressman still then) defending the violent dispersal of his family’s Hacienda.

Here’s the video for your perusal:

(see the link:

Unless the said publications actually verify those reports, this can just be another photoshop wizardy case. If these clippings are authentic though, Noynoy has a lot of explaining to do.

The SAD TRUTH about Noynoy Aquino

It was all well known to the public that the present FACEBOOK site of Sen. Noynoy Aquino was previously the site of the late Pres. Cory Aquino, then it was converted as the official site of Sen. Noynoy after he announces his candidacy for President. Is this the type of INTEGRITY that Sen. Aquino has been portraying of?

We all know that some of the other fans on the said facebook site was also the fans of famous Philippine actress Kris Aquino. Some people just doesnt seem to mind and add Noynoy Aquino’s facebook site, just for the sake of adding a popular figure but not necessarily means supporting or voting for him.
Si Ginang Cory Aquino ay naging Presidente ng PILIPINAS. Sa loob ng anim na taon ng kanyang panunungkulan, walang asenso at pagbabago ang bansa bagkus dito nagsimula ang paghihirap ng karaniwang mamamayan. Nawalan ng pag-asa ang bawat tao na makahanap ng regular o permanente na trabaho sa mga companya at ahensya ng gobyerno dahil sa contractualization law…. See More

Labor activists and Bayan Muna group fought during Aquino’s term against the Wage Rationalization Act (Herrera Law) that was passed, and labor-only contractualization law.
It was under AQUINO regime that the Herrera Law was passed. It was also during her time that ‘contractualization’ was institutionalized.

The Herrera Law created the regional wage boards (RWBs) that determine the salary rates of different sectors in the regions. The scheme is criticized for creating disparity in the wage rates between, for instance, industrial centers like the National Capital Region (NCR), and poor provinces like those in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). For example, non-agricultural workers in NCR get a minimum wage of P382 while those in ARMM only receive P210.

Itong batas na ito ay pumapabor sa mga employer at sa mga mayayamang negosyanteng Intsik na kamag-anak ng mga AQUINO. Dito nakilala ang tinaguriang ”kamag-anak incorporated”. KMU expressed that the passage of the Herrera Law was a major blot to her legacy since it led to two things: the creation of the RWBs and the assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) procedure that curtailed workers’ rights to express their grievances.

With the RWBs, it has become more difficult to lobby for wage increase. The AJ as we know, is being resorted to by the labor secretary to prevent workers from expressing their legitimate demands and complaints.

It was also during the Aquino administration that KMU chair Rolando Olalia was murdered by still unidentified perpetrators. “It remains an unsolved crime.” Ito po ba ang tinatawag na trasparency?

Another legacy of AQUINO regime are the massive long hours of brownouts in the METROPOLIS and the No power electricity in the provinces. The numerous number of coup de etat against AQUINO administration because of its failure to address good governance and the no economic progress. The HACIENDA LUISITA victims are uncared and hopeless. It was a long overdued right to own a land by the farmers but wasn’t given utmost priority and attention. The MENDIOLA MASSACRE of poor farmers was left without justice. Ito po ang sinasabi ninyong paglilingkod sa kapwa tao at hindi lamang para sa pansariling interes?

Then here comes the son NOYNOY AQUINO, a Congressman for 9 years and a first time Senator, is wishing to sit down in MALACANANG as PRESIDENT of the PHILIPPINES.
Ang tanong lang po ng mga FILIPINO, ano po ba ang nagawa ninyo bilang isang Congressman at Senador? Di po ba ang trabaho nun ay ang pag-gawa ng batas? Pero bakit po wala kayong naipasa kahit isa lang?

Meron kaya kayong magawa para sa Bayan pag kayo ay nahalal bilang isang Presidente? Di po ba dati wala kayong balak tumakbong pangulo ng PILIPINAS? Kailangan po ba diktahan kayo ng ibang tao para mag disisyon? Bakit nyo po inaangkin ang pangalan ng DIYOS sa inyong pagtakbo? Di po ba kasalanan yun? Talaga po bang honest kayo at totoo na meron kayong tinatawag na “Inability to LIE”? Di po ba kasinungalingan yun? Di po ba hipokrito lang ang nagsasabi nun? Bakit po kayo tumatanggap sa partido Liberal ng mga balembing na TRAPOng kandidato sa election? Nasaan po dito ang pagbabago?

Bakit po kayo pumayag na maging ka tandem si Sen. Mar Roxas? Di ba si Sen. Mar Roxas ay kilala sa kanyang pag-mumura sa harap ng publiko at sa maraming tao? Ito po ba ang tinatawag ninyong MORAL authority? Di po ba si ERAP ay napatunayan at nahatulan dahil sa katiwalian at CORRUPTION? BAKIT po kayo nakikipag alyansa sa kanya? Di po ba si KRIS AQUINO inindorso si Ginang Arroyo? Nasampahan nyo na po ba ng kaso si Ginang Arroyo at nahatulan na po ba at napatunayan na po ba sa husgado sa mga binabatong corruption at scandal? Di po ba meron tayong OMBUDSMAN namamahala para sa mga opisyal na nagkasala? Malapit na po matapos ang termino ni Ginang Arroyo. Nasaan po ang ating mga ebidensya at patunay ng katiwalian? Kung demokrasya po ang naibahagi ni Ginang Cory, kailangan po ba hindi tayo sumunod sa tamang proceso at bagkus ay akusahan na lamang ng pagnanakaw ang sinumang tao na yumaman at nakabili ng malaking bahay?

Bakit po kayo tumatakbo sa pagka-pangulo sa ilalim ng pamamahala ng COMELEC kung wala naman pala kayong tiwala sa pangalan ng ahensya at sa ating DEMOKRASYA? Pag kayo po ay nahalal na pangulo, sasabihin nyo rin po ba, that you dont expect to solve all the problems of the past administration? Ito po ba ang tinatawag naming pag-asa? Ipag paumanhin nyo na po, Senador NOYNOY AQUINO, pero hindi po kami naniniwala sa inyo at sa inyong kakayahang mamuno sa isang bansa.


A comment from MARK

I am thankful that the readers of this blog is paying attention for what I write here. Ang hirap kasi sa ating kultura, hindi na napapansin ang dapat mapansin tulad ng karumaldumal na pangyayari tulad ng Luisita Massacre. Pero hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa tutuloy ko ang laban ng mga magsasaka.


wOw !
GraBehh pala si NOY! sana makita toh ng mga taong sumusuporta at naakit sa kinang ng liwanag na hatid ng SHOWBIZZ sa pamilya nila. Dapat malaman ng mga tao na hindi charismatic leader lang ang dapat pinag-bababasihan sa pagpili ng presidente, kung gusto natin ng malinis na halalan, baliw tayo para isipin na mangyayari yun, hindi na magbabago ang panahon ngayon, ang magbabago lang ay kung panu natin tingnan ang mga bagay-bagay na nasa ating kapaligiran. Kung ating babalikan ang nakaraan, bayani at huwaran ang tingin ng marami kay Ninoy sa pag-oppose nia kay dating pangulong Marcos, ngunit sinu ba sa History ng politika ng pilipinas ang may pinaka magandang plataporma, programa, at hangad na pag-unlad sa mga naging pangulo ng ating bansa?
Sumama ang imahe ni Marcos sa pagkawala ni Ninoy, ngunit kahit kailan hindi naman napatunayan ang alegasyon laban sa kanya, na sya kuno ang utak ng krimeng ito, samantalang kung ating iisipin at pag-aaralang mabuti, during that time, kung ipapapatay ni Marcos si Ninoy ay alam nya na ang mangyayaring ito sa kanya, therefore bakit pa niya gagawin ito? Hindi ba’t mas malaki ang interest ng mga kalaban nya (na maaaring kakampi pa nga umano ni Ninoy) na siya ay ipapaslang pagbalik nya ng Pilipinas, sapagkat yun lang ang pagkakataon nilang makuha ang kanilang kagustuhang mawala sa posisyon si Marcos? — At hindi ba’t nagtagumpay sila? nauto nila ang taong bayan na mag-alsa laban sa gobyerno ni Marcos ng mawala ang kalaban niyang si Ninoy sa maruming paraan, sa karahasang pinagiwanan na ng katotohanan kung sinu ba talaga ang tunay na utak ng krimen. Napasama nila ang integridad ni Marcos at pinatalsik sa pwesto, ang gobyernong nagtakda ng “martial law”, nguni’t isa ring gobyernong may maayos na pamamalakad sa aspetong politikal at maunlad na ekonomiya. Hawak ng gobyerno ang lahat ng pamamalakad sa pamumuno ni Marcos, (malas lang nya dahil nasagasaan nya ang mga mayayaman at maimpuwnsyang pamilya) ang mga institusyon na ngayon ay binaboy ng mga piling indibidual.
Noon walang nagmumura dahil sa kamahalan ng singil sa kuryente at tubig sa loob ng rehimen ni Marcos. Ngayon wala ka na ngang makain, papatayin ka pa ng global warming sa init ng panahon, putik lang ang kaya mong inumin pag wala kang salapi.
Sa pangyayaring ito, hindi ba’t bumango ang pamilyang Aquino? (salamat sa pumatay kay Ninoy) napalitan ni cory si marcos (pampalubag loob sa mga Aquino). Tiningala siya ng malalaking bansa (US atbp) na ngayon ay may malaking pakinabang sa kayamanang taglay ng ating Pilipinas, na sila ang mas may kakayahang bumili nito kesa sa ating mga nakatirang mamamayan sa lupa.

Kasabay nito, pinalitan din ng (galit na si) cory ang mga naitayong moog ni marcos, moog na syang pundasyon ng ating bansa, kaya nang mawala, ayun lumagapak at hanggang ngayon nananatiling mahirap. Tama nga siya, lalaban tayo, kaya hanggang ngayon lumalaban pa rin tayo.

Base sa mga pangyayaring ito, malinaw na nagkamali tayong mga Pilipino, tama ang pag hangad natin ng pag-babago, na alisin ang martial law, nguni’t ,ali tayo ng kinampihan, mali tayo ng pamamaraan at kinasangkapan. Mali nga ang pag abuso ng militar sa martial law, ngunit hindi yun ginusto ni marcos, ang militar ang umabuso at hindi si marcos during martial law.

Base din sa pangyayaring ito, pinili natin kung anu ang uso, kung anu ang sikat at kung anu ang malinis sa ating paningin, hindi natin nakita ang dumi sa likod nito.
Hahayaan ba nating maulit ito? hahayaan ba nating tayo’y magkamali muli, ang magpabulag sa kinang ng bituin at madapa sa huli? Dapat maging matalino at mahusay tayo sa pagpili ng mga kandidato sa pagkapangulo. Kung gusto natin ng pagbabago dapat matuto tayo mula sa nakaraan. Tandaan natin, na hindi lahat ng kumikinang ay ginto.

PS: Wala po akong galit sa pamilyang Aquino. Lahat po ng nakasulat dito ay nakabase lang sa aking mga pananaw at pagkaunawa. Wag nyo po sana itong masamain.
I understand if you curse me after you read this, but no hard feelings.

Para sa mga magsasaka natin:
” Hindi lahat ng malakas ay nagtatagumpay, ngunit ang nagtatagumpay ay lumalakas!”.