[Statement] Immediately remove CHR Commissioners “Midnight” Appointment!-PAHRA

Immediately remove CHR Commissioners “Midnight” Appointment!-PAHRA
April 20, 2015

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File photo source: Jess M. Escaros Jr. balita.ph

File photo source: Jess M. Escaros Jr. balita.ph

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), after judiciously discerning received  reliable information, calls for the immediate removal of CHR Chairperson Etta Rosales, Commissioners Ma. Victoria Cardona and Norberto dela Cruz for committing a grave abuse of discretion in making a “midnight” and procedurally-flawed appointment of a person with questionable eligibility, Atty. Marc Titus Cebreros, as CHR Executive Director.

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The 4th Commission on Human Rights has been earlier assessed by different human rights groups as under par in performance.  Then came the Ombudsman’s historic decision of dismissing former Commissioner  Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing due to graft and corruption and abuse of authority. This was followed by the en banc resolution of finding Com. Norberto dela Cruz of human rights violations and pending case in Ombudsman filed against him by a former staff for misconduct.

After such incidents, one would have expected that the mentioned Commissioners would be more circumspect in their personal and collective behavior and decisions being top officers of the prime human rights institution of the country.  But no, the already eroded integrity and credibility of the CHR further deteriorated in making, with sheer absence of delicadeza, this “midnight” appointment.

What alarms us the most is that this grave abuse of discretion may become a justifiable precedent action and a new acceptable standard for Commissioners and personnel of CHR.  Much less should it be implanted and perpetuated in the institution.

Whether this grave abuse of discretion has been done near the end or at any period of any Commissioner’s term, it merits the same disciplinary action.  It goes against the common Paris Principles for NHRIs in the areas of transparency, accountability and rule of law. If unattended or unresolved, the integrity, credibility and consequent strength of our National Human Rights Institution would be eroded further and its status lowered before the national public, regional and international human rights communities.

This is unacceptable.  This should stop now.


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