A deputy spokesperson of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is claiming that Presidenti Benigno Aquino III had personally asked for help from then Chief Justice Renato Corona regarding the redistribution of the Cojuangcos’ Hacienda Luisita which the family challenged in the Supreme Court.
Former Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said that while Aquino had openly “disdained” Corona – he publicly called Corona’s scent to the SC as a “midnight appointment” which was later upheld by the SC and snubbed him during Aquino’s oath of office and inauguration – he “shamelessly” asked a favor from Corona.
“Just weeks after his inauguration, Aquino spoke with Corona at a close family member’s home, according to an unimpeachable source present at the meeting. There the Chief Executive conveyed his request to the Chief Justice regarding his Cojuangco clan’s Supreme Court petition against the redistribution of Hacienda Luisita,” said Saludo in his Manila Times column.
It was under the Arroyo administration that the Department of Agrarian Reform ruled that the 6,453-hectare Hacienda should be parceled out to its 6,296 farmers because the alternative ownership through shares of stock didn’t meet land reform requirements.
“One-and-a-half years later, in Nov. 2011, the Supreme Court decided in a 14-0 vote to redistribute. The Cojuangco elders were said to have been livid, with one lamenting that after holding onto the land through the Marcos regime, they would lose it under their own flesh and blood,” said Saludo.
Saludo cited the SC decision as the trigger for Aquino’s acts of vengeance against Corona starting from the Lower House’s approval of Corona’s impeachment in record time in December 2011 and culminated with his conviction at the hands of 20 senator-judges in May 2012. Saludo said that Aquino oiled the ouster moves against Corona with pork barrel funds for congressmen and Disbursement Acceleration Program money for senators.
Even after he has brought Corona down to his knees, Saludo said Aquino slapped the ex-CJ with tax charges that ultimately led to his death on April 29 at the age of 67.
“Thus, Corona paid the price of defending justice, the rule of law and the national interest against the powers that be,” said Saludo.
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