Seems like the whole Hacienda Luisita issue is compromising the ability of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to render with professional dignity his duties as leader of the Filipino people. The fate of control over the vast estate by the Aquino-Cojuangco clan in the face of deadlines to fully implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by 2014 presents what could be the single biggest plausible motivation for the massively-funded engineering of a Second Aquino Administration from 2009 to 2010. Noynoy, being the culmination of that investment, is unfortunately living his worst nightmare — finding himself face-to-face with a monumental roadblock to his singular mission as President: Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who was appointed at the eleventh hour by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
A previous article of mine provides a background on why Hacienda Luisita (HLI) represents the Holy Grail of Noynoy’s six-year quest as Philippine President…
It seems that Noynoy’s presidential pitch to voters on the back of “good intentions”, as it turns out, masked a more practical agenda. A temporary restraining order (TRO) on the application of the CARP on HLI has been in effect since 2005 when tenant farmers mounted an almost successful bid to overturn a failed stock distribution scheme initiated by then President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.
Thus a Noynoy presidency was apparently deemed critical to ensure that the “right” people were in the Supreme Court over the 2010-2016 presidential term, most likely to ensure that the SC in that period dished out rulings favourable to the presidential Kamaganak Inc which, of course, includes the owners of HLI. This likely inlcudes keeping the TRO in effect and buying enough time for HLI to get its sorry financial position back in the black.
It’s no wonder then that Noynoy threw a monumental fit when he first faced the prospect of a presidency under a Supreme Court led by Arroyo appointee Renato Corona. To Noynoy, Corona represented an absolute roadblock to the whole point – his mission to his family while President of the Philippines.
Unfortunately for Noynoy and his extended clansmen, a series of bumbles further aggravated his already thorny relationship with Corona. The culmination of the course Noynoy himself set towards the head-on with the SC which started when Noynoy first assumed the office in mid-2010 is the bald defiance by his Justice Secretary Leila De Lima of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on a travel-ban slapped by MalacaÃ±ang on Arroyo. Shortly after, the High Court ordered the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita to all its eligible tenant farmers.
The extent to which the Hacienda Luisita situation has now occupied the limited mind of the President is evident in the way he is now behaving. In a recent speech he delivered
to the Makati Business Club at the National Criminal Justice Summit last Monday, he reportedly spent the better part of his time at the podium verbally assaulting the Supreme Court even as its Chief Justice sat just a couple of meters away…
The President dished out one tirade after the other while Chief Justice Renato Corona was sitting at the presidential table on stage, just two meters away from Aquino.
Prompted for a response at the end of the speech, Corona simply quipped…
“Hayaan na natin. Magpapasko na,” Corona said. (Let’s let it go. It’s almost Christmas.)
Columnist Marichu Villanueva for her part also notes in a PhilStar article how…
Corona chooses not to talk amid all these attacks against his person and his position. He can, but his job is to protect first his institution from political predators. This is not about Mrs. Arroyo but everything about the oaths that Corona and the rest of the SC justices took to do what is right and to defend the Constitution and civil liberties of the citizens.
Did Noynoy even spell out some semblance of a plan for the economy over the remaining five years of his term during
that Monday’s speech considering the distinguished men and women who most likely made up the audience in that occasion?
It is becoming more and more evident that President Noynoy Aquino, thanks to the family feudal baggage as well as his own recklessness and lack of introspection over the last year and a half, severely handicapped his ability to govern the Republic objectively. It is likely that Hacienda Luisita alone is a big enough elephantine agenda that it could take up what meagre cognitive bandwidth Noynoy’s mind is capable of mustering for his presidential tasks. Economic growth? Too hard. Eliminating corruption? Too nebulous. Constitutional reform? Too complicated. Reproductive health? Too ambiguous.
Saving Hacienda Luisita? Ding ding ding! The price is right!
Will the next five years of the Second Aquino Administration be all about retribution — against Arroyo, and against Corona to assuage any anger the Noynoy man may harbour over their thwarting of what he thought would be a laid back presidency? Or will it be about blazing the straight and narrow daang tuwid path he promised during his campaign?
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