Palace respects former Sen. Arroyo’s call to reconsider appointment of Sarmiento to Human Rights Claims Board

MANILA, Feb. 23 (PNA) — Malacañang on Sunday said it respects the views of former Sen. Joker Arroyo in calling on President Benigno Aquino III to reexamine his appointment of police Gen. Lina Sarmiento to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board.

But Presidential Communications Operations Office secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also noted the claims board will have only two years to do its job and must get working soonest.

“We respect the views of former Sen. Joker arroyo, who is an ardent freedom fighter and human rights advocate in the Martial Law period. Nagkakaiba ang pananaw niya sa pananaw ng Pangulo sa paghirang kay Gen. Lina Sarmiento. Sa batas na nagtatag ng Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, may sunset clause kung saan binibigyan ang Board ng dalawang taon para magampanan ang tungkulin nito (We respect the views of former Sen. Arroyo, an ardent freedom fighter and human rights advocate in the Martial Law period. But his views differ from those of the President. And under the law creatng the claims board, the board has two years to do its work),” Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“Maikling panahon lang, kinakailangan kumilos nang husto ang board na ito (The board has very little time to finish its work so it must get going),” he added.

Besides, he said the President himself is aware of the issue of human rights as he and his family had suffered human rights violations under Martial Law.

“Ito ang sinaalang-alang niya sa pagpili ng kasapi ng claims board (He has factored this in when he chose the members of the claims board),” he said.

Former Sen. Arroyo had written an open letter to President Aquino, appealing to have the President’s senior staff reexamine the basis for the appointment of Sarmiento.

Arroyo argued Sarmiento “cannot have any track record of involvement in or understanding or knowledge of the human rights situation during the martial law period.” (PNA)