PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has directed his legal counsel to study the Supreme Court ruling, declaring Eduardo Cojuangco as the legitimate owner of the 20 percent shares in San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

"I have tasked our legal counsel to give a briefer,” Aquino said in an interview in General Santos City Thursday.

The President said the government is very involved in the case and he wanted to know what actions to take depending on the legal team’s recommendation.

The 73-page ruling issued by the SC on Tuesday said Cojuangco's 20 percent stake in SMC does not form part of the so-called coco levy funds and as such does not belong to the government.

"The legal opinion has to be correct and given at the soonest possible time,” the President noted.

He earlier refused to comment on the issue, saying that he has yet to read the SC ruling.

Coco levy is a tax exacted from coconut farmers from 1973 to 1982, during the term of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Cojuangco, a perceived Marcos crony, reportedly bought the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) using coco levy funds.

He was also director of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and chairman of the UCPB when the SMC shares were acquired.

Cojuangco is the uncle of Aquino and first cousin of his mother late former President Corazon Aquino. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)