CA defers confirmation of DAR chief Mariano
The bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) has agreed to defer the confirmation of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Paeng” Mariano.
Senator Gringo Honasan moved to suspend the hearing to allow the members from both chambers of the Congress to “process and digest” information and issues that cropped up during the deliberation.
Only the issue of one of the six oppositors was tackled when Mariano faced the CA panel.
Mariano’s confirmation hearing is set to resume on Tuesday next week, Sept. 5.
First to raise opposition on Mariano’s appointment is Manuel Gallego Jr., a landowner in Nueva Ecija. He was represented by his daughter Maria Theresa Gallego.
Gallego showed videos of some 250 militant farmers tresspassing their ranch in Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija.
She said the farmers were affiliated with the Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), which Mariano previously chaired. One of the rallyists also said they met with “Ka Paeng,” referring to Mariano.
The landowner slammed Mariano for “acting as enabler of the militants to do lawless activities” and for “providing legal cover to landgrabbers.”
“If you are confirmed as DAR secretary, what guarantee do we have that rule of law will be respected and followed? Will you chastise lawbreakers, including KMP and all related groups and tell them to follow the law?” Gallego said.
She added that Mariano will be an “obstacle to peaceful and inclusive development in the countryside.”
“We beseech this committee to protect property rights, uphold the rule of law, support countryside development and employment generation, reject violence. If you agree with this principle, isn’t it that the logical conclusion would be to reject Mariano’s confirmation?” Gallego said.
When given time to explain, Mariano said that he immediately directed DAR officials to conduct investigation on the incident.
“Malinaw na after nung (It was very clear that after the) incident, I immediately directed DAR officials to conduct investigation and take appropriate actions for its resolution,” Mariano said.
But the secretary believes that he would successfully hurdle the confirmation hearing despite the allegations of involvement with the left-leaning organization thrown at him.
“Sa totoo lang po, wala akong nararamdamang kaba at tulad ng sinasabi ko, panatag ang aking loob at isip na humarap sa CA pati na rin sa oppositors (To tell you honestly, I am not worried at all, and as I have said, I am very calm and my mind is at ease to appear before the CA and also to the oppositors),” he said. JPV
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