Ombudsman orders suspension of CHR Commissioner
On Valentine’s Day , Feb. 14, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered an immediate execution of a Preventive Suspension of CHR Commissioner Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing without pay for the period of six (6) months pending investigation of cases filed against her. According to the Ombudsman, preventive suspension can be meted if the evidence of guilt is strong and that the charges involved oppression and grave misconduct which may eventually warrant removal from office. The order shall not be un interrupted within the prescribed period notwithstanding appeal, motion of petition that may be filed by Com. Quisumbing.
The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating Com. Quisumbing for administrative and criminal cases which stemmed from a formal complaint filed by Ms. Regina Eugenio last September 24, 2013 against her former employer Com. Quisumbing ( OMB-C-A 13 -0334 : Violation of RA 6713 Sec. 7(d) or Solicitation or Acceptance of Gifts ) and Criminal case (OMB-C-C- 13-0354: Violation of RPC 210- Direct Bribery, RA 3019 Sec 3(b), 3(c), 3 (e) 6713 Sec. 7(d) ) and RA 6713 Sec. 7(d) . The complaints were corroborated by three (3) other former co-personnel of Ms. Eugenio.
Another Commissioner of the CHR, Com. Norberto dela Cruz is also facing several complaints from his former driver, Mr. Nemesio Mendoza filed with the Office of Chairperson last 2013 and August 2013 but until now, no substantive actions have been taken by the Commission. The complaints earlier include alleged unfair labor practice and immorality. Later, an incident wherein the Commissioner supposedly punched the complainant in the face within the compound of the Commission. Mr. Mendoza is preparing to file another charge against Com. Dela Cruz.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) had been assisting the complainants on their quest for justice against the alleged human rights violations committed by members of an institution which is expected among all other agencies to have a higher value on the protection and promotion of human rights. PAHRA, in the meantime, has also complied with the request by the Legal Affairs Office of the Office of the President to submit supporting documents of the cases and other concerns involving the two Commissioners.
Max de Mesa, Chairperson of PAHRA, said: “Such incidences of violations, though alleged, by avowed promoters and protectors of human rights, cannot but erode the credibility of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).”
PAHRA firmly reiterates its call to:
- To designate an independent committee of inquiry especially regarding the case against Com. Norberto dela Cruz as well as to recommend measures and actions that would strengthen the CHR;
- To certify as urgent the passage of the new Charter of the CHR with the added provisions on the selection process of the Commissioners and the Mechanism for Transparency and Accountability of the Commissioners and Directors;
- To create a committee that would propose a process of selection for the next new members of the CHR similar to the selection of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Contact person: Rose Trajano, 0906-553-1792
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