By Danessa O. Rivera
The Daily Tribune
The camp of former President Gloria Arroyo insisted that vindictiveness was clearly behind the change of heart of President Aquino in allowing a hospital or house arrest on Arroyo and his obsession to put her in jail as a way to get back at Arroyo because she was believed to be behind the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council to revoke the stock option plan for farmers in Hacienda Luisita that consequently became the basis for the Supreme Court’s recent order for land distribution on the Cojuangco-Aquino clan’s estate.
Arroyo spokesman Raul Lambino said Aquino’s motives in going after Arroyo with more intensity and to persecute her are grounded on vindictiveness and personal vendetta.
He claimed that fabricated charges being cooked up by the Aquino administration that are expected to be filed against Arroyo were following the government’s propaganda lines and offshoots of the Hacienda Luisita ruling.
“The recent SC decision was the reason why the Aquino administration changed its earlier offers of hospital or house arrest and is taking a hardline position to detain Arroyo in a jail,” Lambino said.
The Palace also maintained that the just compensation for Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) on the land to be distributed to farmers, as insisted by Aquino, is under the law and the decision for that would be up to the Supreme Court (SC), adding that the executive should not be blamed for any decision that the SC will come up with.
Aquino’s deputy spokesman Abigail Valte noted that just compensation is a requisite under the law and the Aquino administration was not the one who introduced it. She added that the SC will determine the just compensation to be paid the HLI.
“The Court will determine that, it is not the executive’s call because the case is with the Supreme Court. The blame should not be on the executive,” she said.
Valte also insisted that President Aquino does not have a personal interest on the issue since he had divested himself of his shareholdings in HLI.
“I think at this point, it is irrelevant and the fact is the President has divested himself of the shareholdings in the family corporation and he has always been forthright in saying that the decision is now the Supreme Court’s to make,” she noted.
She added that they will abide by the decision of the Court, saying “whatever that is going to happen will be entirely according to the decision and the parties involved.”
Valte added that the Palace will not intervene nor issue further comments on the issue and “we will just let the events unfold.”
“What is contained in the decision stands, I honestly have no idea on the next moves of the private party, HLI. We are not their lawyers, neither are we their spokespersons,” she added.
She, nevertheless, said it would be the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which will implement the land valuation that the SC will arrived at. The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) was the one impleaded, DAR will be working to implement whatever will be the decision,” Valte said.
Aquino had insisted that in the light of the high court decision ordering the distribution of land owned by HLI, the corporation should be justly compensated as well.
Last Thursday, the SC voted unanimously, ordering the HLIe to be placed under the government’s agrarian reform program without qualification and that all salaries, benefits, as well as the three percent of gross sales of the agricultural lands, and the three percent share in the proceeds of the sale of the 500-hectare converted land and the 80.51-hectare SCTex lot and the homelots already received by the 10,502 farm-worker beneficiaries (FWBs) “shall be respected with no obligation to refund or return them.”