KARAPATAN warns P-Noy not to wash his hands on Hacienda Luisita issue

The National Council of the human rights watchdog Karapatan joins farmers and supporters in a mass by Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani dedicated to Hacienda Luisita workers at the Santo Domingo Church, and warned President Benigno Aquino III “not to wash his hands” on the controversial land dispute.

KARAPATAN Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said, on the eve of a Supreme Court en banc hearing of oral arguments on the case, that “Pres. Aquino should take the initiative to revoke the stock distribution option (SDO) as already decided by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council in 2005, nullify the sham compromise deal of the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management, and immediately implement the long overdue land distribution to farmers and farm workers.

“Otherwise, he has no one but himself to blame for the twin misdeed of depriving the peasants of what is rightfully theirs, and denying them social justice.  That is not only a betrayal of public trust.  He would turn out to be the biggest "kunsintidor ng korupsyon at kasibaan (enabler of corruption and greed), far from treading the matuwid na daan,” Enriquez added.

“What’s worse, Pres. Aquino has even promoted then AFP Nolcom head Lt. Gen. Ricardo David as the AFP chief when his troops opened fire at unarmed workers on strike in 2004 with the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre, one of the gravest human rights violations which killed seven and wounded over a hundred,” Enriquez added.

“If Pres. Aquino really upholds human rights, he should consider not only giving up his stocks at the Hacienda Luisita, but by his mandate and political will, freely distribute the land – with no ifs and no buts,” Enriquez said.

KARAPATAN will join the Hacienda Luisita farmers and supporters in trooping to the Supreme Court tomorrow as it prepares for a historic ruling. ###


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