Palace rues Mariano’s rejection as DAR chief

MANILA -- MalacaAang on Wednesday expressed regret over the rejection of Rafael Mariano as Agrarian Reform Secretary, saying the former activist has played a key role in promoting the welfare of farmers.

We regret the news of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael 'Paeng' Mariano's rejection by the Commission on Appointments, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Improving the quality of life of our farmers is the commitment of the Duterte administration, and Secretary Mariano has been pivotal in promoting farmers' rights and welfare and ensuring their security of land tenure, Abella said.

The Palace official added that the Filipino people will always be grateful to Sec. Mariano for his dedicated and passionate service to the nation.

Senator Vicente Sotto III, chair of the CA panel on Agrarian Reform, said there were 13 CA members who voted against Mariano's confirmation.

Mariano had 24 endorsements and 11 oppositors including owners of a cattle ranch, Ranch Gallego, a farmer who represented Hacienda Luisita, among others.

He became the fourth Cabinet member of President Rodrigo Duterte to be rejected by the powerful body.

The CA also rejected the appointments of Perfecto Yasay, Jr. as Foreign Affairs Secretary, Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary and Judy Taguiwalo as Social Welfare Secretary.

Both Mariano and Taguiwalo were nominated by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Some security officials also claimed they had intelligence reports that showed that Mariano had a direct participation in New People's Army (NPA) attacks at the facilities of Lapanday Foods Corporation early this year.

In a press conference after his CA rejection, Mariano blamed the self-interests of businessmen, landlords, and large corporations as the reason for his rejection.

Mariano, however, said he will still continue helping farmers in his own way despite the rejection.

Ngayong araw, maaring nanaig ang interes ng mga negosyante, panginoong may lupa, at malalaking korporasyon, ngunit darating din ang araw na magsasaka naman ang mananaig (Today, perhaps the interest of businessmen, landlords and big corporations wins, but there will come a time when farmers will triumph.), he said.

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 (We might have failed to get the confirmation of the CA today, but I will not stop serving our farmers. We will continue to push for progressive advocacies, and in the end, we will reap our own successes.), he added.

Before his stint as Agrarian Reform Secretary, Mariano was an Anakpawis party-list congressman and chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

Source: Philippine News Agency