Hacienda Luisita has remained an issue for the late former president Cory Aquino and her son, current presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino, for their rejection of calls to let go of the property and conflict of interest. Nonoy Aquino himself owns a little more than 280,000 shares of Luisita stock which is about 3% of the company, currently valued at 15 million pesos.
On November 16, 2004, twelve picketing farmers and two children were killed and hundreds were injured when police and soldiers dispatched by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Labor Secretary Patricia Sto Tomas stormed a blockade by plantation workers. The protesters were pushing for fairer wages, increased benefits and, more broadly, a greater commitment for national land reform. Despite witness accounts of police, government soldiers and security personnel firing into the picket line, no arrests were made.