THE Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday deferred the confirmation of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano to allow all groups for or against his designation to present their respective positions.
Mariano is the only remaining left-leaning official in the Duterte Cabinet. The bicameral panel earlier rejected the appointment of Secretary Judy Taguiwalo as head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, chairman of the CA’s Committee on Agrarian Reform, granted the motion of Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd to suspend the public hearing saying many issues need to be answered, including allegations that Mariano is a member of the communist movement.
Mariano will again face CA members on September 5 at 10 a.m.
He clarified that he never joined the New People’s Army (NPA).
However, Mariano admitted that he is one of the consultants of the government panel in the peace efforts with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF).
Only one oppositor, Teresa Gallego, was able to present their case against Mariano for allegedly allowing militant farmers to “invade” their cattle ranch in October 2016. Mariano denied the allegation.
Gallego claimed that around 250 farmers armed with “bolos, machetes, and samurais” illegally entered their ranch in Nueva Ecija to “take over” their land under the land reform program.
She said that the key leaders of the 250 men who barged into their ranch are affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) of which Mariano was the national chairman.
Mariano, former representative of Anakpawis party-list and chairman of KMP, was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte through the nomination of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
with Neil Alcober