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Aquino defends Sarmiento’s appointment to rights claims board

/ 01:41 PM February 25, 2014

President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Despite opposition from human rights groups and martial law victims, President Benigno Aquino III stood by Lina Sarmiento’s appointment as head of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, citing her experience and age as an advantage.

“Kung bakit si Lina (Why Lina)? Number one, she is approaching age of 56, which I think will give her enough maturity, parang time for the experience and the necessary physical ability to be able to complete the job in two years; and also to fend off those who would want to sabotage what this law intends to do,” he said in a televised press briefing in Cebu.

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The President compared her to someone in his mid-70s or 80s, the usual age of those who experienced martial law, who needs to verify the identity and the story of the claimants.

He said he even encountered one candidate who declined a position in the board, saying he or she wouldn’t be able to fulfill the duties required because of age.

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Aquino also said that Sarmiento has tackled human rights issues before and that he, Human Rights Commissioner Loretta Rosales and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima were confident in her ability.

“So, she has the skill, she has the physical energy, she has the drive, she has the right direction to be able to accomplish the job in two years or less,” he said.

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.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Ferdinand Marcos, government Appointees, Human rights, Human Rights Claims Board, Judiciary, Lina Sarmiento, Martial law, Supreme Court
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