CA rejects Mariano’s appointment at DAR
(Updated, 3:57 p.m.) The Commission on Appointments (CA) rejected on Wednesday the appointment of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Paeng” Mariano, the remaining Leftist leader subject for approval in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto III said 13 members of the CA voted against Mariano’s appointment.
“After an exhaustive deliberation and impartial scrutiny of the testimonies, endorsements, oppositions and other documents submitted, your committee called for a vote, in accordance with the rules, the result of which shows that the weight of the scales ultimately tipped the balance against the confirmation of the appointee,” Sotto said during the plenary session.
Before facing the powerful commission, Mariano faced ten oppositions against his confirmation, three of which came from Tarlac.
During the hearings, Mariano had to defend himself from allegations that he had direct participation in New People’s Army (NPA) attacks in Davao province last April. Mariano repeatedly denied having links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.
Mariano is the fourth member of the Duterte Cabinet to be rejected by the CA.
CA also rejected the appointments of his fellow progressive leader former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Environment Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez and Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Almario was the sole lawmaker who took the floor to explain his vote in favor of Mariano’s appointment.
Almario said Mariano “would have been the best voice” for the oppressed farmers.
President Duterte gave Taguiwalo and Mariano posts in his cabinet upon the recommendation of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Before he became a public official, Mariano formerly led peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Militant leader Renato Reyes of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the former DAR secretary represents the “democratic aspirations of millions of farmers calling for genuine land reform.”
“The rejection of Mariano also showed that the Duterte administration was ‘anti-people,’” Reyes said.
“Sisingilin si Duterte ng mga magsasaka (The farmers will hold Duterte accountable). Many of those opposing Ka Paeng’s confirmation are associated with the hecienderos of Luisita. Duterte and his allies will find themselves aligned with the hacienderos of Luisita if Ka Paeng is rejected,” Reyes said in a statement.
“Whatever happens to Ka Paeng’s confirmation, the fight for genuine land reform will continue. As in the case of Judy, Ka Paeng’s rejection will be squarely on Duterte,” he said.
Reyes issued the statement even before Mariano was rejected by the Commission. IDL
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