In a separate voting, the high court likewise dismissed the motion filed by the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) asking for a reconsideration of the Nov. 22, 2011 ruling which fixes the landowners’ compensation based on the 1989 valuation.
According to ABS-CBN News, the valuation based on 1989 rates would mean that the government will pay the owners of the HLI P40,000 per hectare or around P200 million.
The corporation owned by relatives of President Benigno Aquino III petitioned for the valuation based on 2006 rates which amounts to almost P1 million per hectare or a total of around P5 billion for the entire property.
Eight justices – Chief Justice Renato Corona, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Roberto Abad, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, and Martin Villarama Jr. – voted in favor of upholding the use of the 1989 valuation, while six – Lucas Bersamin, Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Bienvenido Reyes, Mariano Del Castillo and Diosdado Peralta – voted in favor of creating a Special Agrarian Court to decide upon the value of the land.
Associate Justice Antonio Carpio inhibited from the case since his firm was the counsel of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) which purchased 500 hectares of the contested land from HLI.
In an ABS-CBN News Channel interview, HLI legal counsel Antonio Ligon said that they will abide with the high court’s ruling, adding that they have yet to receive a copy of the decision.
Ligon said that cannot say if HLI will challenge the SC ruling.
In an Interaksyon report, meanwhile, Renato Reyes of the militant group Bagong Alysansang Makabayan said that today was a “historic day,” stressing that “there is no legal impediment now for the immediate distribution of the Luisita land to the farmers.”
Reyes added that the HLI and the Aquino government “should take immediate and concrete steps for land distribution. No more excuses. No more delays.”