SC to issue judgment on coco levy issue

By , on December 11, 2014

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MANILA – The Supreme Court has finally granted the government’s motion for partial entry of judgment on one of the coco levy cases.

The move will allow the funneling of a total of P60 billion in funds for the benefit of around 3.5 million coconut farmers.

The court’s seven justices unanimously voted for the issuance of judgment on the resolution ruling that the San Miguel Corporations (SMC) shares had been purchased using coco levy funds, thus constituting public money.

SMC’s 753,848,312 shares constitute a 31-percent Series 1 block purchased during martial law. Four percent of the stocks, however, still remains under court litigation, hence, only partial judgment is sought.

The justices who voted for the granting of the entry of judgment includes Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes and Marvic Leonen.

Those who have chosen not to take part of the vote include Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Francis Jardeleza. Three others were on leave during Wednesday’s session: Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin and Jose Perez.

While the court has yet to release a full ruling, it has already ordered its 2012 decision to be recorded allowing its execution.

“We thank God for giving guidance to the Supreme Court justices in making a decision, because after two years of waiting, the coco levy case was issued an entry of judgment so that coco farmers across the Philippines could use [the funds],” Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (Pakisama) president Ireneo Cerilla said in a statement.

“May we all come together and plan for rural development and the progress of the coconut industry. Let us develop the rural coconut industry and coco farmers and enable them to help in improving our economy in the future,” Cerilla said.