By Hannah Torregoza
A panel of the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday finally confirmed the ad interim appointment of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Rualo Castriciones.
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the committee on agrarian reform, said the panel will transmit to the CA plenary the panel’s decision on Castriciones for concurrence on Wednesday.
Poe said 13 members of the panel voted to approve Castriciones’ nomination and only two voted against it during an executive session.
The senator expressed hope Castriciones would be able to address the issues hurled against him by his oppositors, who are mostly farmers and DAR employees, during the hearing.
Earlier, at least five individuals cast their opposition to Castriciones’ appointment to the DAR saying he is “unfit to be the DAR Secretary.”
One of the oppositors, DAR-EA Union President Antonia Pascual, appealed to the CA to reject his nomination because of his “military mindset.”
“This military mindset has divided the bureaucracy and created an atmosphere of fear in the DAR,” Pascual said.
Pascual also said Castriciones did not respond to letter sent to him. She also accused the DAR chief of harassment and union-busting.
“We saw that he lacks the qualification and experience for this post…he is unfit to be the DAR secretary,” she said.
“There have been many secretaries appointed to the DAR…but this is the first time that we are opposing the ad interim appointment of a DAR secretary,” added Pascual.
The bicameral appointments body once bypassed Castriciones’ appointment. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to the position following the CA’s rejection of activist Rafael Mariano last September.