12 Years of Injustice: Rights Group Urges SC to Indict Aquino Over Hda. Luisita Massacre

The Civil Liberty of the Philippines (CLP) on Friday filed a petition in Supreme Court to reopen the Had. Luisita Massacre case, with former President Benigno Aquino III as the main defendant.

Hacienda Luisita is a sugar plantation located in the province of Tarlac, Philippines, that was borrowed by the Cojuangco- Aquino family from the farmers, which includes Corazón C. Aquino and Benigno S. Aquino III, the eleventh and fifteenth Presidents, respectively. The hacienda spans various municipalities in the province, including the capital Tarlac City. Since the Hacienda Luisita was just borrowed by Cojuangco-Aquino family from the farmers, they had a deal that after 10 years they will return all of the land. As of 2016, the Cojuangco-Aquino family has not yet returned most of the borrowed land.

The estate at 6,453-hectares is as large as Makati City and Pasig City combined.

On 16 November 2004, twelve picketing farmers and two children were killed and hundreds were injured when police and soldiers dispatched by then Labour Secretary Patricia Santo Tomás,stormed a blockade by plantation workers. The protesters were pushing for fairer wages, increased benefits and, more broadly, a greater commitment for national land reform.

CLP general Secretary Oscar Sembrano said, the 27 page petition detailed how the farmers were murdered and how the Aquino administration tried to cover-up the heinous crime committed by both private and government forces.

Since Aquino held the highest position, Sembrano argued that the former president should be held fully responsible and acocuntable for the committed crimes.

“Three previous adinistration tried to cover their eyes and ears. We hope this case under president Duterte will be given focus so that the family of the victims could be given justice”, sembrano said.

Aquino has been silent on the subject even during his administration. /Vernalyn Bruzo/

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