Farmers launch a protest action in front of the SC

FARMERS group joined an all peasant-led protest in front of the Supreme Court  today calling for the next wannabe chief justice not to mess with high court decision on the Hacienda Luisita case.

Farmers said  four of the 40 nominees to the Supreme Court Chief Justice are not qualified to become the next head of the high tribunal because of their expressed bias to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III as far as Hacienda Luisita is concerned.

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said anyone among acting SC Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief Kim Henares if selected to be the next CJ might lead the collegiate body in reversing the 14-0 decision on Hacienda Luisita as payback to Aquino.

“Aquino’s fantastic four or anyone of the 40 nominees to be endorsed by the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) automatically will be beholden to President Aquino being the appointing authority. The danger of the SC decision being reversed or manipulated in favor of the president and the Cojuangco-Aquino family is always there,” said UMA secretary general Rodel Mesa.

“The next CJ should not submit from the dictatorial tendency of the current administration, even he or she is hand pick by the president or the devil himself, the interest of the people must come first” warned Mesa.

The group burn pictures of President Aquino’s top four picks for the post as a sign of deep opposition on their race for the next CJ saying that acting CJ Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno, BIR chief Kim Henares and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, whom the group asserted have links to the president and their possible selection as next Chief Justice would have high risk to meddle on the high court’s 14-0 unanimous decision awarding Hacienda Luisita to its 6,296 farm worker beneficiaries last April 24.

“It would be easy for the President to put a subservient CJ and put the case of Hacienda Luisita on a stand off through the issue just compensation. Even as DAR manifests that it would continue the process of the distribution, there’s provision on RA 9700 or the CARPER law oblige the government to pay for compensation before handing down the land for distribution. We don’t think the Cojuangco-Aquinos are going to submit to DAR without settling first their immoral claim for a P10B compensation package” Mesa added

He also said if the Mr. Aquino succeeded in putting one of his bets as the high court chief steward, it would send a chilling factor not only on the Hacienda Luisita case but other sensitive cases with national interest like the coco levy fund would be in peril.

“Of course Aquino is just only the one who swing the stick but the real mastermind behind this plot would be the Cojuangco-Aquinos who have high stake on the two controversial cases” the UMA leader said

‘The connection is obvious. The Judicial and Bar Council must strongly consider this observation and issue raised on the selection of the next Chief Justice.  By ethical standard this questionable entry of nominations should not be welcomed, the Judicial and Bar Council must scrutinize and intervene in the process. They should not allow the process be bastardized by pro-Aquino elements. What is the sense of transparency when the motive is obviously for political and economic survival? Mesa asked

“That is why the next CJ whether coming from the inside or outside of the Supreme Court must stay away and fight for the integrity of the court against the president’s attempt to use its power for personal cause. He or she should continue to support the actual distribution of Hacienda Luisita and also review other cases that had been manhandled by the high court in favor of the elite and the powerful. The next CJ should have qualifications that are an exact opposite of what the president’s trying to project. Otherwise the Arroyo-Corona tandem would have a repeat on Aquino and whoever he will be appointed to do his biddings,” Mesa said.

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