MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, August 30, deferred the confirmation of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.
After hearing the opposition of Manuel Gallego Jr, as represented by Maria Teresa Gallego, Senator Gregorio Honasan II moved to suspend Wednesday’s proceedings.
“We will suspend the consideration of the nomination of Secretary Mariano until Tuesday, September 5, 10 am,” said Senator Vicente Sotto III, chairman of the CA committee on agrarian reform.
Below are the 10 oppositors to Mariano’s nomination:
- Noel Mallari, et al
- Manuel Gallego Jr
- Ricardo Quintos
- Rodel Mesa and Angelito Bais
- Roberto Nidera, et al
- Barangay resolution of Barangay Sta Catalina, Tarlac City, Tarlac
- Barangay resolution of Barangay Asturias, Tarlac City, Tarlac
- Barangay resolution of Barangay Motrico, La Paz, Tarlac
- Edgar Aguas
- Manolito Dagatan and Hernani Geronimo
On Wednesday, the Gallegos asserted that Mariano was involved in “inciting and supporting the illegal, armed, forced entry of more than 250 men with bolos, machetes, and samurai swords” in their cattle ranch in Nueva Ecija in October 2016.
Gallego said the key leaders of these men come from 3 main groups, all of which are affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Mariano was former chairman of the KMP.
The agrarian reform secretary denied he had any personal participation in the incident. He also denied that he issued a letter telling the groups to enter the cattle ranch again.
“‘Yung sinasabing nagsisilbing inspirasyon ng mga magsasaka ang pagiging kalihim ko ng DAR, eh ‘di ko na po masasaklawan ang kanilang kapasiyahan, ang kanilang kagustuhan, ang kanilang inisyatiba, at hindi ko na rin po pangungunahan kung papaano nila gagamitin ‘yung inspirasyon na ‘yun na ipinagkakaloob ng pagiging kalihim ko po ng Department of Agrarian Reform,” Mariano added.
(On whether my being DAR secretary inspires farmers, I can no longer control their decisions, their aspirations, their initiatives, and I won’t impose on them how they should use that inspiration from my being the secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform.)
He said the DAR is already looking into the incident.