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Endorsed by rebel group, Philippine peace negotiator picked for top court

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has appointed his chief peace negotiator with Muslim rebels as a Supreme Court associate justice.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Marvic Leonen took his oath Wednesday to fill a vacancy after Maria Lourdes Sereno was promoted from associate justice to chief justice in August.
Leonen’s panel recently signed a framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Lacierda says MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal wrote to Aquino endorsing Leonen’s appointment.
Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles says negotiations with the MILF for a final agreement will not be affected. A replacement will be announced soon.
Leonen, 49, was dean of the law school at the University of the Philippines and has a Master of Law degree from Columbia University.