Ex-minister Estrella can doom Noynoy’s Palace bid–Remulla
LIBERAL Party (LP) presidential bet Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III can kiss his presidential bid good-bye once former agrarian-reform minister Conrado Estrella Sr. tells all that he knows about the “blood-soaked history” of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.
Nacionalista Party Rep. Crispin “Boying” Remulla of Cavite issued this statement on Tuesday in reaction to comments made by Estrella over the weekend that he is willing to testify on the Hacienda Luisita controversy involving Aquino’s family if invited by Congress to a public hearing.
“Minister Estrella can certainly deal Noynoy what I’d call a presidential candidacy-killer. Thus, I do not expect Noynoy or anyone from his camp daring Mister Estrella to spill the beans or to unearth the ‘skeletons’ buried at Luisita,” said Remulla.
“By skeletons, I am, of course, speaking figuratively, although a number of farmers have already been killed over the issue. But who knows what other can of worms might just be opened should Congress initiate an honest-to-goodness, no-holds-barred investigation on Luisita?” he stressed.
Remulla pointed out that Estrella may know a lot about how the family of Aquino, especially the Cojuangcos, willfully violated the terms of their acquisition of Hacienda Luisita to escape distributing the same to farmers.
“Let us not forget that it was Minister Estrella who first asked Aquino’s family in 1967 to honor the terms of their P5.9 million loan from the GSIS [Government Service Insurance System] which allowed them to purchase Luisita, along with Central Azucarera de Tarlac.”
“Forty-five years ago, Mr. Estrella had already been asking why Aquino’s family had kept Luisita for themselves when they had promised in 1957 to distribute the land to farmers 10 years down the road,” Remulla pointed out.
As a stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP), Estrella said any statement he would give on Luisita would only be brushed aside as “politically motivated” by Aquino and the LP.
(B. Fernandez, F. Marasigan, R. Acosta and J. Perez)