DAR chief shuns armed struggle
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano reiterated before members of the powerful Commission on Appointment (CA) that he will neither advocate nor endorse an armed struggle to resolve issues.
During his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Mariano said, “Lalo pa ngayon na ako ay secretary ng Agrarian Reform, tinitiyak ko po sa inyo na ang DAR at ako po, hindi nag-a-advocate, hindi po ako nag-e-endorso, hindi po ako sususporta sa mga illegal activities. As secretary ng DAR, I do no support, I do not endorse armed struggle.”
The CA, composed of members from both chambers of Congress, is expected to vote on Mariano’s confirmation on Wednesday.
Senator Loren Legarda asked Mariano to clarify his position on armed struggle after his oppositors linked him to attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the countryside.
Mariano had previously denied that he became a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing.
Before he became a public official, Mariano was a leader of the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
During the Aug. 30-hearing of the CA, a landowner in Nueva Ecija accused Mariano of giving his blessing to alleged members of the KMP, who trespassed and attacked their property.
Maria Theresa Gallego, daughter of landowner Manuel Gallego Jr., criticized Mariano for “acting as enabler of the militants to do lawless activities” and for “providing legal cover to land-grabbers.”
“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.”
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the panel received a joint resolution by the Regional Peace and Order Council of Southern Mindanao, citing an alleged intelligence report indicating that Mariano was involved in the NPA attack on the Davao City facilities of Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC) in April.
“Simula nung ako’y nanungkulan sa Kilusang Magbubukid, hindi po ako kabilang o naging kabilang o sumusuporta at hindi po ako nagkaroon ng karansan na gumawa ng labag sa ating konstitusyon ng batas,” Mariano stressed.
“Hindi ko po sinuportahan lalo na ngayon as DAR secretary, hindi ako sumusuporta sa armed struggle o ‘yung tinatawag na armadong pakikibaka,” he added. kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.