SC votes for 1989 rates valuation of Luisita land

Jonathan de Santos
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the distribution of lands to farmers while owners of the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated in Tarlac will be paid with the land's 1989 rates as compensation.

HLI is owned by the Cojuangcos, relatives of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

SC spokesman Midas Marquez said in a press conference in Baguio City Tuesday that SC voted 8-6 and ruled for the P40,000 per hectare payment for HLI, its value in 1989. The Cojuangcos, however, had been asking for compensation of around P1 million per hectare, or around P5 billion, from the government.

Marquez announced that eight justices, including Chief Justice Renato Corona, voted to use the valuation used in 1989, when a stock-distribution option was implemented on the Cojuangco-owned hacienda. Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Roberto Abad, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, and Martin Villarama also voted to base compensation on 1989 rates.

"This has nothing to do with the impeachment," he said, adding the Hacienda Luisita case had been before the SC for a long time.

Justices Lucas Bersamin, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Roberto Abad,Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Bienvenido Reyes, Mariano Del castillo, and Diosdado Peralta, meanwhile, voted to have a lower court assess value of the hacienda, Marquez said.