Palace backs Sarmiento for claims board post

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2014 08:09 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2014 04:09 AM

MANILA -- Despite complaints on her appointment, Malacanang said General Lina Sarmiento fits her job as head of the Human Rights Claims Board, Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said Sunday.

This was after former Senator Joker Arroyo sent an open letter to President Benigno Aquino III, seeking the recall of Sarmiento's appointment, saying the appointment of a police general is a brazen travesty of the legacy of the human rights movement.

"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," Coloma said.

"Pansinin din po natin na ang humirang sa kanila, si Pangulong Aquino, ay mayroon pong malalim at malawak na pag-unawa diyan sa usapin ng human rights dahil sa kanyang personal na karanasan at sa naranasan na rin po ng kanyang pamilya sa buong kaganapan ng Martial Law at ito po ay isinaalang-alang din niya sa pagpili ng mga kasapi ng Claims Board," he added.

Coloma also pointed out that the board is only given two years to do its duties, as stated in the sunset clause of the law which established the Human Rights Claims Board.

"Sa amin pong palagay ay dapat ay bigyan na lang ng sapat na pagkakataon ang mga miyembro ng board na patunayan ang kanilang kapabilidad," he said.

Coloma said everyone is expecting a lot from the board, and only after they do their responsibilities would the government be able to determine if Sarmiento and other members of the board did well.

"Kaya't umaasa tayo na gagawin nila ang kanilang dapat na gawing tungkulin sa loob ng maikling panahong iyan at magiging batayan iyan sa pagpapasya natin kung sila ba ay talagang karapat-dapat o hindi. Dahil lahat naman po ng mga mamamayan mayroong pagnanasa na gampanan nila iyan sa pinakamahusay na paraan," he said.

The Palace had earlier asked the public to support its decision and to give Sarmiento a chance.