MANILA — Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano denied any involvement in illegal activity or a supporter of armed struggle.
Speaking before the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, Mariano assured that since his appointment as DAR chief, he has dedicated himself to carrying out his duties “within the bounds of the law.”
“My tenure as Secretary of DAR, whether it be long or short, shall be dedicated to serving the people and upholding the Philippine Constitution which we are all duty-bound to defend,” Mariano told the CA.
“I will do my duties within the bounds of the law. Hindi po tayo nag-eendorso o sumusuporta sa anumang mga illegal na aktibidad o mga gawaing sa labas ng balangkas or outside the bounds of the law (I do not endorse or support any illegal activities or activities outside the bounds of the law),” he added.
He also denied being a member or advocate of armed struggle.
“Tinitiyak ko po sa inyo na ang DAR at ako po ay hindi nag-aadvocate, nag-eendorso, sumusuporta sa mga illegal na activities. As Secretary ng DAR, I do not support, I do not endorse armed struggle (I assure you that I and the DAR do not advocate, endorse or support illegal activities. As Secretary of DAR, I do not endorse armed struggle),” Mariano pointed out.
However, he acknowledged why organizations of farmers have the tendency to join armed groups.
“…Nauunawaan ko po ang malalim na historikal, moral, sosyal na kontektso kung bakit meron tayong mga magsasaka na nagpasya na humawak at tumahak sa landas ng armadong pakikibaka. Yun po ay mahaba nang kasaysayan (I understand the deep, historical, moral, social context why we have many farmers who decide to join armed struggle. That has long been part of history),” he added.
Moreover, Mariano vowed to lead his agency with “full transparency and accountability” and denied to favor any particular group of farmers of agrarian beneficiaries.
“Ginawa ko po ang lahat ng ating magagawa para patunayan at pagsikapan na ako po ay dapat na kalihim ng DAR. Ibig po sabihin, ako po ay sekretaryo di lamang ng isa o dalawa o tatlong organisasyon ng mga magsasaka o agrarian reform beneficiaries (I did everything I could to prove that I deserve to be DAR chief. This means, that I am secretary not just to one, two or three organizations of farmers or agrarian reform beneficiaries),” Mariano said.
During his last confirmation hearing last week, Mariano denied being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) despite being nominated by the National Democratic Front (NDF) of the Philippines.
Mariano was a former Anakpawis party-list congressman and former chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.