CA defers confirmation of DAR chief Mariano

By on August 30, 2017


The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday deferred the appointment of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano. (Photo By Commission on Appointments, Public Domain)
The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday deferred the appointment of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano. (Photo By Commission on Appointments, Public Domain)

MANILA — The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday deferred the appointment of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III suspended the proceedings after Senator Gringo Honasan asked for more time to “process and digest” issues raised by the oppositors.

There are 10 oppositors against the appointment of Mariano. However, only six were present during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing.

One of the oppositors was Ma. Teresa Gallego, who represented her 90-year-old father, Manuel Gallego Jr. She claimed that Mariano “acted beyond the law” by supporting 250 members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) to illegally enter inside their cattle ranch on Oct. 1, 2016.

Mariano was chairman of the KMP but resigned upon assuming his post as DAR Secretary on June 2016.

“We believe Secretary Mariano was involved in supporting the illegal armed forced entry of more than 250 men with bolos, machetes and samurai swords. They destroyed the cattle electric fence, cut, burned the cattle grass food and said they are taking over our land and planting and building their homes there {sic},” Gallego said.

Gallego pointed out that key leaders of the 250 men were affiliated with the KMP. She said that their company was also close to signing an agreement that could have resulted in more factories creating as many as 10,000 jobs but investors pulled out because of reports of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga both being “hotbeds of NPA (New People’s Army).”

Moreover, she said that Mariano will be a “major obstacle” to the Duterte administration’s vision to achieve inclusive growth, noting “if basic property rights cannot even be guaranteed by our government.

Mariano, for his part, said that he ordered an investigation into the said Ranch Gallego incident but did not complete it.

He said that he was no longer chairman of the KMP and was never a member of the NPA.

However, he said that he understood the sentiment of farmers who were inclined to join the communist arm group.
“’Di naman ako miyembro ng CPP, NPA, NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front),” Mariano told reporters in an interview after the CA hearing.

Hindi po ako nagkaroon ng karanasan underground. Magkaiba yung sitwasyon namin ni Secretary (Judy) Taguiwalo. Naiintindihan ko kung bakit maraming magsasaka tayo na lumahok at maging bahagi ng armadong rebolusyon sa ating bansa,” he added.

Mariano’s next confirmation hearing is scheduled on September 5.