Fight for farmers will continue, Mariano vows after CA rejection
Former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano on Wednesday said his fight for the marginalized, particularly the oppressed farmers, will continue even after his rejection from the helm of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
“Bagamat bigo po tayong makuha ang kumpirmasyon ng CA ngayong araw, hindi po titigil ang inyong lingkod na pagsilbihan ang ating mga magsasaka. Patuloy tayong magpupunla ng progresibong mga laban, upang sa huli ay makaani tayo ng tagumpay,” Mariano said in a prepared statement after the Commission on Appointments (CA) rejected his appointment.
Thirteen members of the CA, who came from both chambers of the Congress, voted against the confirmation of Mariano’s ad interim appointment at DAR.
During the three confirmation hearings, alleged links of Mariano to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) were questioned by the lawmakers.
In the last hearing, the panel showed a joint resolution signed by some of President Duterte’s senior security officials and local government officials from Mindanao, saying Mariano had direct participation in NPA attacks in Davao province.
But Mariano repeatedly denied the accusations, calling them “malicious and baseless.”
In a press briefing after the plenary session, the secretary said that while the interest of landlords, oligarchs and big corporations prevailed in his rejection, he would still continue pushing for genuine land reform.
“Ngayong araw, maaaring nanaig ang interes ng mga negosyante, panginoong maylupa, at malalaking korporasyon, ngunit darating din ang araw na magsasaka naman ang mananaig. Dadaan ang mga bagyo, ngunit mananatili tayong nakatindig nang matatag sa pamamagitan ng ating matibay na pagkakaisa,” he said.
“Ito po ang pangako ko sa inyo: Hangga’t hindi nalulutas ang pangunahing suliranin sa lupa na isa sa mga ugat ng krisis sa lipunan, magpaptuloy po tayo sa pagkilos—ngayon—balik sa hanay ng aking mga kapwa magsasaka at taumbayan,” Mariano said.
Militant groups, meanwhile, condemned CA’s decision to kick out Mariano from Duterte’s Cabinet.
“The rejection of Ka Paeng Mariano as DAR secretary hardly comes as a surprise given the earlier rejection of Judy Taguiwalo. Like in the case of Judy, this one is on Duterte who has sided with landlords, oligarchs and the fascist generals,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.
Reyes slammed the CA for having no “justifiable reason” to reject Mariano.
“The ridiculous CA hearing alleged that Ka Paeng oppressed powerful landlords and colluded with the NPA without providing even a shred of evidence. Clearly, there was no justifiable reason for rejecting Ka Paeng if we go by performance and track record,” he said.
“Ka Paeng posed a threat to the ruling class interests which Duterte seeks to uphold. We condemn the CA rejection which has exposed the utter bankruptcy of the ruling system and the current regime. Ka Paeng is more than welcome to return to the mass movement to pursue his life-long advocacy of genuine agrarian reform,” Reyes said. je
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