By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Agrarian Reform Secretary designate Rafael Mariano dismissed on Wednesday claims that he had influenced the attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) on a banana plantation in Davao Region.
In objection, Mariano raised his voice at the resumption of the Commission on Appointments’ (CA) deliberations on his appointment to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in denying that he was involved in the burning of the facilities owned by the Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC) last April.
Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Ramirez Sato in the third hearing of the CA committee on agrarian reform Wednesday brought up a joint resolution from the Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council of Region 11 opposing his confirmation as DAR secretary on ground that he had links to the Lapanday incidents.
The resolution was earlier revealed by agrarian reform committee chairman and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III Tuesday, noting that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año were signatories in the resolution.
“I categorically deny my involvement, my participation in the planning of the events in Lapanday…These allegations are baseless, unfounded and malicious,” Mariano told the CA agrarian reform panel.