Former Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano is set to return to the streets to decry the Duterte administration’s “emerging dictatorship,” weeks after his Cabinet appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.
“After noong aking rejection, ang una kong lalahukang malaking kilos-protesta ay itong magaganap sa September 21 laban sa mga anti-mamamayan, anti-demokratiko at pasistang patakaran ng rehimeng US-Duterte,” Mariano told media on the sidelines of a human rights forum in Diliman.
The September 21 mass action will be a whole-day protest in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law under the Marcos regime.
The rally will start in Mendiola, the protest area closest to Malacañang. Demonstrators will then march to Luneta where the culminating event will be held, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said.
“Nagdeklara na ang Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ng martial law sa Mindanao at malakas naming tututulan kung magdedeklara man ng martial law sa buong bansa,” Mariano said.
“Ngayon mas madalas na akong makikita sa mga kilos-protesta . . . Ang mas matalas na mensahe niyan, hindi ako nawala sa sirkulo o sa kilusang masa. Nanatili iyong aking pakikipag-ugnayan sa paglahok sa mga organisasyong pangmasa.”
On September 6, the Commission on Appointments thumbed down Mariano’s appointment as DAR chief due to his alleged ties with communist rebels.
Mariano denied that he was supporting members of the New People’s Army. He said there was no documentary evidence that would prove that he had a hand in the attacks at Lapanday plantation in Davao city.
Mariano was the second left-leaning Cabinet member who failed to get the CA’s nod. Former Social Welfare and Development secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s appointment was turned down in August.
Taguiwalo, who is in the US with her siblings, has yet to say if she will also join the same mass protest this week.
Mariano’s decision to return to street protests was announced days after the Makabayan bloc, a coalition of party-lists at the House of Representatives, decided to leave the the super majority.
“May hangganan kung saan namin kaya makapagtrabaho with them (administration),” Zarate said.
Contractualization is still there, peace talks have been stalled, and people are still poor.”