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Incoming Philippines President Benigno Aquino unveils cabinet

Benigno Aquino III has said he will set up a "truth commission" to investigate allegations of corruption and human rights violations that have been made against his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Benigno Aquino III is affectionately known as Noynoy by his supporters

Benigno Aquino III is affectionately known as "Noynoy" by his supporters

The president-elect Benigno Aquino III, who takes his oath as the 15th president of the Philippines on Wednesday, said that his cabinet would be a mix of "old and new faces" that would help him fulfil his promise of change to the electorate.

Aquino said his cabinet's first task would be to determine the real state of the country.

Retired General Voltaire Gazmin will be the defense secretary, whereas the finance secretary will be Cesar Purisma, one of ten members of outgoing President Arroyo's team who resigned en masse from a luxury hotel in 2005 after losing confidence in her.

The chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights Leila de Lima has been named justice secretary. Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo is the only current cabinet member who will keep his post.

"Committed to solving the country’s problems"

"These are the people whom I believe have committed to the philosophy that the problems in this country are solvable and not intractable, have the energy and the commitment to sacrifice to do the necessary things that will effect the changes that the people are aspiring for," the incoming president, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, said on Tuesday.

Several allegations of corruption have been made against outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Several allegations of corruption have been made against outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

A large budget deficit, a need to rebuild investor and public confidence in institutions and governance, to reduce poverty and resolve long-standing insurgencies are all challenges that the new president and his cabinet will face.

Truth commission to bring closure

The "truth commission" that Aquino wants to set up will bring "closure to several issues", he told reporters.

The members will be "collators of evidence, the proof as to who committed what and what transgression of our laws was committed."

Aquino said that he was confident the investigation and prosecution would not drag on for decades although he did not give a deadline.

Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog, has called on the president-elect to jail corrupt officials and seize their assets to show he is serious about fighting endemic corruption that has hindered economic development.

Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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