Benjie Oliveros | Obtaining Justice for Luisita Farmers Is a Test for Noynoy

Noynoy Aquino may not have stolen money from the nation’s coffers but he has been stealing land from the farmers of Hacienda Luisita. The issue of the farmers of Hacienda Luisita is not merely a test of his mettle as a presidential candidate but, more importantly, it is a test of his sense of justice.


MANILA — November 16 marks the 5th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. It would be remembered that on that fateful day, the farmers of HLI who had been picketing the gates of the hacienda for 10 days were fired upon by soldiers resulting in the death of seven strikers and the wounding of 181.

Their only “crime” was to fight for the land they have been tilling for generations, which should be rightfully theirs. The farmers’ rightful claim does not only emanate from an issue of social justice — giving the land to the tillers — but also from the agreement entered into by the Cojuangco family when the patriarch Jose “Don Pepe” Cojuangco loaned the money to purchase the property from the Tabacalera from the Government Service Insurance System, the Manufacturer’s Trust Company of New York and the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1957.

The loan agreement with the GSIS clearly stipulated that the Cojuangco family should turn over the land to their farmer-tenants in 10 years or by 1967. The Cojuangcos were able to delay the turnover for three decades until they were able to, under the Cory Aquino administration, “legitimize” their hold to the land by applying the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) provided for by the administration’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law on Hacienda Luisita, instead of distributing it to the farmers. The insidious thing is, farmers whose services were terminated by HLI also lost their share. In 2004, the Hacienda Luisita management tried to terminate the services of 176 seasonal and 150 regular farm workers amid the deadlock in the collective bargaining negotiations. This caused the farm workers to declare a strike.

It would also be remembered that the application of the SDO on Hacienda Luisita had been declared null and void by the Department of Agrarian Reform in 2005. However, up to now, the Cojuangco family has been trying desperately to delay the turnover of the land to the farmers. Worse, they have reportedly imposed a deadline on the farmers who have been tilling the land to provide food for their families to desist from doing so and vacate the land.

The defenders of Senator Noynoy Aquino say that he and his family has got nothing to do with the management of Hacienda Luisita. But could they deny that they benefited and are continuously benefiting from the profits of Hacienda Luisita? Is it not to their interest to keep the land from the farmers?

Noynoy Aquino was quoted declaring that the Aquino family would be divesting their shares in Hacienda Luisita. However, he is completely missing the point. First, everybody knows that public officials who supposedly divest their interests in corporations merely employ dummies to cover for them, and besides, even if the Aquino family “divests” its interests in Hacienda Luisita, it still would belong to their clan, the Cojuangco family. Second, the issue hounding Noynoy Aquino is not only about personal interests but his political will to dispense justice.

Noynoy Aquino, along with his running mate Mar Roxas, is running under the slogan of change. But what change could Noynoy promise if in his own backyard justice is being denied to farmers? And we are not talking about a minority group in the country but a sector that comprise majority of the Filipino people.

The supporters of Noynoy Aquino claim that his main strength is integrity because he has not been linked to any corruption case. He may not have stolen money from the nation’s coffers but he has been stealing land from the farmers of Hacienda Luisita. The issue of the farmers of Hacienda Luisita is not merely a test of his mettle as a presidential candidate but, more importantly, it is a test of his sense of justice. (

Share This Post

7 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. · Edit

    tweaked by Maria Elizabeth Embry)

    Hacienda Luisita, 42 years Blowin’ in the Wind (1968-2010

    How many more Hacienda Luisita farmers must die

    Before we can call 'em owners of their land?

    Yes, 'n' how many Laws they must passed

    Before you can call it an Agrarian Reform Law?

    Yes, 'n' how many more farmers the guards must slay

    Before you can say it is enough?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,

    The answer, indeed is blowin' in the wind.

    How many times must Hacienda Luisita farmers fight

    Before they can see the end of their plight?

    Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have

    Before he can hear the farmer cry?

    Yes, 'n' how many massacres will it take till Noynoy wakes up

    That too many Hacienda Luisita sakadas have died?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,

    The answer, indeed is blowin' in the wind.

    How many years can the Hacienda Luisita farmer’s plea exists

    Before it's heard by y’all?

    Yes, 'n' how many years can Hacienda Luisita farmers complain

    Before they're allowed to be right?

    Yes, 'n' how many times can some people turn their heads,

    Pretending they just do not see?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,

    The answer, indeed is blowin' in the wind.

  2. why not give the lanfdto the farmers and do not delay it instead bakit natatakot ba si noynoy na ibigay yung lupa sa mga farmers, i think its time di ba ang hangarin niya is ipagpatuloy ang sinimulan ng kanyang mga magulang, never ming gibo hindi yata siya interesado sa hacienda luisita and if ever..o baka naman hihintayin pa ni noynoy ang kanyang pagkapanalo bago niya ibigay ang lupa

  3. Can't believe this could still happen in a time when we thought we have democracy. I know a lot of politicians are fighting for the rights or farmers. Pero bakit ang malagim na pangyayaring ito hindi na masyado nauungkat sa congreso or senado? Dahil nga ba nabibilang ang pamilyang Aquino at Cojuangco sa mga elite na patuloy na nag ddominate sa Philippine politics? Wag na natin hayaan pa maulit ito ngayong darating na eleksyon. This video even has the facts to prove the Aquinos' involvement in Hacienda Luisita massacre and SCTEX scandal. We should all think twice about Noynoy Aquino's said involvement in these issues.

  4. Walang karapatan maging pangulo ng Pilipinas si Noynoy dahil kawatan ng lupa

    walang konsensya dapat mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga namasaker sa kanilang hacieda luisita na tiyak sila ang may kagagawan!

  5. Sir Benjie,

    I cannot find in your article any logic or supporting fact for you to conclusively say that Noynoy has been stealing land from the farmers.

    I know you know that Noy has not been in control and has not taken part in deciding as to what to do with that flash-point land.

    Simply it goes beyond logic.

    Another thing, it is also out of syntax for you to write that Noy is missing the point when he announced the Aquino family will divest themselves of shares in Luisita. And your justification why he missed the point is that everybody knows officials use dummy in divesting interests. Where is the logic here? While it is true that public officials use dummy schemes to divest them of interests, it is not true in all officials. You should have presented a fact that you interviewed a witness close to Noy disclosing that he will just use a dummy in so divesting.

    Additionally, why did you not link Noy to his uncle Danding Cojuangco, who took advantage of Marcos powers to abuse the Coco Levy Funds to buy San Miguel shares? And if you did not link Noy to Danding's capers, is it not also fair for you not to link Noy to his uncles who actually manage the Luisita lands?

    You did not attack the persons who actually run Hacienda Luisita. Your motive in attacking Noy then is obvious. You know that in solving the problem you must choose the best and correct solution.

    Why? Can you solve Luisita problem if you attack Noy?

    How would these poor and suffering people in Luisita gain supporters if persons like you who look like to be pretending for their cause but only using them to advance your agenda–of supporting your own presidential bet?

    Can you win the dreams of these farmers by attacking Noy using unfounded claims and misrepresentations?

    To say that you twisted your story a bit for Villar is an understatement. I am sorry but this is my honest opinion of you.

    Please do not use this progressive group composing for your personal agenda.

    I sympathize with the farmers, but please do not go beyond the decency of truth or honesty.

  6. basilio,

    I agree we should challenge Gibo too, but Noynoy faces the bigger challenge here. For one, he is staking his staking his claim to the presidency on the basis of integrity, so he needs to put this into action. Second, he has a bigger chance of winning the election.

    It is not a matter of not stealing something that is owned before one was born. It is a matter of principle, of wanting to make a good legacy. Again, if Cory failed to subject Luisita to land reform, can Noynoy correct this history?

  7. Before Noynoy was born, his mother;s family has Hacienda Luisita already. How can you steal something that is there ex before you were born? Noynoy's family own 5% of the Hacienda. Gibo's family own some part of it. Why not challendge Gibo too?

Comments are closed.