SC decision favoring Cojuangco condemned*
April 21, 2011
FARMERS' groups strongly condemned the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco's claim over 20% of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) stocks bought through coco levy funds. The Supreme Court ridiculously said that the close relationship between Cojuangco and the former dictator Marcos has not been proven.
Marcos and Cojuangco initiated the imposition of a levy on coconut farmers ostensibly for their benefit. The funds collected were incorporated into the Coconut Industry Investment Fund which was used to set up the United Coconut Planters Bank. As a UCPB official, Cojuangco used the coco levy funds to purchase 47% of SMC shares, which were sequestered by the Aquino government in 1986.
The CPP lambasted the Supreme Court decision, saying that it was clearly payback by Benigno Aquino III for Cojuangco's support for his campaign in the presidential election. Cojuangco was one of Aquino's biggest campaign contributors.
Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said the Supreme Court decision tramples on the rights of small coconut farmers who were forced by Marcos and Cojuangco to pay the coco levy. This fund has never been of any benefit to the coconut farmers.
In Lucena City, the Coconut Industry Reform Movement is preparing to file a motion for reconsideration against the court decision. Farmers' groups launched a protest action on April 14 in front of the Supreme Court.