Palace rejects Joker Arroyo plea, to keep Sarmiento
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday asked former senator Joker Arroyo to trust President Benigno Aquino III in his decision to appoint a former police official to head the martial law compensation board.
The President has a deep understanding of human rights because of his personal experience during the martial law era and he considers this when he chose the members of the claims board, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a Palace press briefing.
“We respect the views of former Senator Joker Arroyo who is an ardent freedom fighter and human rights advocate in the martial law period. Nagkakaiba lang po ang pananaw niya sa pananaw ng ating Pangulo sa paghirang kay General Lina Sarmiento (His view is just contrary to that of the President when it comes to the appointment of General Lina Sarmiento),” he said.
Palace earlier said that the former Philippine National Police (PNP) director is a reform advocate who should be given a chance to prove herself.
Coloma also pointed out that Republic Act no 10368 or the Human Rights Victims reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 has a “sunset clause,” giving the claims board a period of two years to do their job after the promulgation of the implementing rules and regulation.
He said it is for this reason that all members of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board should be given a chance to show what they can do.
In his letter, Arroyo said Sarmiento’s credentials, regardless of what she knows about human rights violations in recent history, do not meet the minimum standards set under RA 10368. He said Sarmiento lacked understanding or knowledge of the human rights situation during the martial law period.
“The fundamental proposition of RA 10368 is that the human rights violations were perpetrated by the certain members of the Armed Forces and the defunct (Philippine) Constabulary,” the former senator said.
“The appointment of a general from the uniformed services to preside as chair over the adjudication of the claims for reparation and recognition of the human rights victims is a stinging repudiation of our 15 years of struggle for freedom and democracy,” he added.
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