CA de­fers Mar­i­ano’s con­fir­ma­tion

Business World - - THE NATION - M. Ban­zon Mario

THE COM­MIS­SION on Ap­point­ments (CA) on Wed­nes­day con­firmed the pro­mo­tions of four mil­i­tary of­fi­cers while sus­pend­ing the hear­ings on Rafael V. Mar­i­ano’s con­fir­ma­tion as Agrar­ian Re­form Sec­re­tary un­til Tues­day next week.

The hear­ings were re­set fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions by one of those op­posed to Mr. Mar­i­ano’s ap­point­ment that he sup­ported vi­o­lent protests against cer­tain prop­erty own­ers.

Mr. Mar­i­ano, a for­mer partylist con­gress­man, has been re­peat­edly by­passed this year. He is one of four Cab­i­net mem­bers ap­pointed by President Ro­drigo R. Duterte from the Left. In the course of his watch over the De­part­ment of Agrar­ian Re­form (DAR) he has im­ple­mented such or­ders that be­came sub­ject to con­tro­versy as the plac­ing of 727 hectares of Ha­cienda Luisita un­der the Com­pre­hen­sive Agrar­ian Re­form Pro­gram (CARP).

“Be­cause there are nu­mer­ous op­pos­i­tors hindi natin puwede madaliin. We have to lis­ten to each one. And the point of Sen­a­tor (Gre­go­rio B.) Honasan, mali­wanag na ito pa lang isang op­pos­i­tor pa lang, nag-oover­load kami sa is­sues on agrar­ian re­form,” said CA As­sis­tant Ma­jor­ity Floor Leader, Sen­a­tor Vi­cente C. Sotto III. ( We can’t has­ten the pro­ceed­ings be­cause there are nu­mer­ous op­pos­i­tors. And the point of Sen­a­tor Honasan, it is clear that even with just one op­pos­i­tor, the is­sues are far too many. We’re al­ready over­whelmed by the is­sues on agrar­ian re­form.)

He also added that the com­mit­tee would have pre­ferred it if Mr. Mar­i­ano had given di­rect an­swers. “Si­nasabi nila na hini­hin­tay nila ‘ yung di­rect na sagot. Anong pay­ong mabibi­gay sa gu­ma­gawa ng ga­nun, sa puma­pa­sok,” Mr. Sotto said. (They are say­ing that they would have pre­ferred it if he had given di­rect an­swers to such ques­tions as what would he do with tres­passers.)

One such op­pos­i­tor, Maria Teresa P. Gal­lego, who rep­re­sented her fa­ther, Manuel O. Gal­lego, Jr. of the Ha­cienda Gal­lego cat­tle ranch, cited an in­ci­dent on Oct. 1 last year, when 250 per­sons with bo­los, ma­chetes and other weapons at­tempted to take over their land and build homes there. She said the tres­passers came from Kilu­sang Mag­bubukid ng Pilip­inas ( KMP) and Alyansa ng Mag­bubukid sa Git­nang Lu­sonNueva Ecija ( AMGL- NE). Mr. Mar­i­ano was a chair­man of KMP.

Ms. Gal­lego fur­ther ac­cused the DAR sec­re­tary of pro­vid­ing cover to land grab­bers and be­ing bi­ased against landown­ers.

In re­sponse, Mr. Mar­i­ano said that the in­ci­dent was ini­ti­ated by the farm­ers. “Yung in­ci­dent na yun ay sa ini­tia­tive ng mga magsasaka. Yun nga po ang in­aaral ng DAR, at yung na­man ay may rem­edy na­man po, na avail­able ei­ther ad­min­is­tra­tive or ju­di­cial reme­dies,” he said. (The in­ci­dent was ini­ti­ated by the farm­ers. DAR is still con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and there are reme­dies for such cases, ei­ther ad­min­is­tra­tive or ju­di­cial reme­dies.)

Dur­ing an in­ter­view by re­porters af­ter the hear­ing, Mr. Mar­i­ano said in part: “We do exercise the man­date of the de­part­ment and its func­tions within the bounds of the law and un­der the rule of the law. At ‘ yun po yung tin­gin kong hini­hingi ni­lang ma­li­naw na sagot ko.” ( We do exercise the man­date of the de­part­ment and its func­tions within the bounds of the law and un­der the rule of the law. And that is what I think the com­mit­tee wanted to hear.)

He also said DAR is open to di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tions with all stake­hold­ers.

Mr. Sotto, for his part, said that among those op­posed to Mr. Mar­i­ano’s ap­point­ment are some farm­ers and stake­hold­ers at Ha­cienda Luisita.

The com­mit­tee aims to de­cide on Mr. Mar­i­ano’s ap­point­ment by Wed­nes­day, Sept. 6.

The CA last Aug. 16 re­jected the ap­point­ment of Judy M. Tagui­walo to the De­part­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment. Ms. Tagui­walo is sim­i­larly af­fil­i­ated with the Left.

Mean­while the of­fi­cers of the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines who found their pro­mo­tions con­firmed on their first CA hear­ing were Lt. Gen. Rafael Va­len­cia, Maj. Gen. Casiano Monilla, Maj. Gen. Ar­nel Duco, and Brig. Gen. Fidel Igme­dio Cruz, Jr. —

SE­NATE PRESIDENT and Com­mis­sion on Ap­point­ments Chair Aquilino Martin L. Pi­mentel III with newly pro­moted mil­i­tary of­fi­cers.

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