“Kamag-anak, Inc.” is alive and well under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, according to leftist group Kilusang Mayo Uno, after a Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the President’s uncle, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.
In a statement, the KMU said the SC decision that Cojuangco acquired his San Miguel Corp. shares legally “is an injustice not only to coconut farmers and farmworkers but to the Filipino people.”
It said the SC ruling is a clear sign that the Kamag-anak Inc., is alive under the Aquino government.
“The SC decision on the coco levy funds is a clear proof that Kamag-anak Inc. is alive and well under the Aquino government. The crook who benefitted immensely from the Marcos dictatorship is again laughing all the way to the bank under a new Aquino government,” Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, said.
“The SC ruling reminds the Filipino workers and people of the so-called ‘compromise agreement’ hatched in Hacienda Luisita in the first months of the Aquino government. These two are both testimony to how the Aquinos are using the government to uphold their economic interests to the detriment of farmers and farmworkers whom they have sucked dry for years,” he added.
The High Tribunal, during its regular en banc session on Tuesday, dismissed the motions filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and multi-sectoral group led by former Senators Jovito Salonga and Wigberto Tañada, seeking the reversal of the court’s decision on April 12.
The SC had declared as legitimate Cojuangco’s 20% San Miguel stake, debunking PCGG’s claim that this was acquired using coconut levy funds.
The petitioners argued that Cojuangco “judicially admitted” he acquired the said San Miguel block of shares using proceeds of loans from the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) and credit advances from the Coconut Industry Investment Funds (CIIF) Oil Mills, the repositories of coco levy funds.
The levy (a kind of tax) was paid by coconut farmers whenever they sold copra during the period August 1973 to 1982.
Cojuangco, said to be one of the close associates of Marcos, was director of the CIIF Oil Mills and the Philippine Coconut Authority, and chairman of UCPB at the time the San Miguel shares were purchased. Thus, the government claimed he took advantage of his positions in these entities and breached fiduciary duties for personal gain.
In its final ruling, the SC said the petitioners failed to present new arguments that would warrant the reversal of its previous decision.
Soluta, however, said the SC decision “denies justice to small coco farmers who were robbed of a portion of the product of their labors and serves the interests of the culprit who has been enjoying the fruits of his crime.”
“It awards the corrupt and denies justice to the mahirap,” he added.