CA defers confirmation of DAR chief Rafael Mariano

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: 

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.)

Mariano, a nominee of the Philippine Left, was reappointed last July, after he was bypassed for the second time by the powerful CA. –

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.