[People] CHR’s Personnel Arising Against “Midnight” Appointment of Executive Director by Commissioners Rosales, Cardona and Dela Cruz -by Max De Mesa

Commission on Human Rights’ Personnel Arising Against “Midnight” Appointment of Executive Director by Commissioners Rosales, Cardona and Dela Cruz
April 25, 2015

The arising of more than 100 personnel to register their strong protest against an appointment to the institution’s adjudged as done in “indecent haste” augers well for a renewal of good governance in our Commission on Human Rights (CHR). It is indeed a welcome refreshing wind of unprecedented change to demand from the CHR Commissioners its rights-based obligations as duty bearers in governance, i.e., participation, transparency and accountability. It vindicates quiet deep sensitivity for fairness of the many hard-working and faithful personnel in the CHR.

The first-of-its-kind petition forged and signed by CHR Directors, Officers-in-Charge (OICs) and rank-and-file employees from the national and regional offices disputes the eligibility and procedures assented to and conducted by Chairperson Etta Rosales, Commissioners Ma.Victoria Cardona and Norberto dela Cruz to appoint Atty. Marc Titus B. Cebreros as CHR Executive Director (ED). Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag dissented and preferred to leave the appointing of the ED, out of delicadeza, to the next Commission. The petition has been submitted to the currently sitting en banc Commission.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) strongly decry this “midnight” appointment last April 13, 2015 while the Commission term ends on May 5, 2015. It deliberately sets aside the rules of promotion stated in the provisions of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and in the CHR’s own all-personnel-approved Merit Selection Plan (MSP). After studying judiciously the data and documents related to the said appointment, PAHRA stands in solidarity with the findings and protest petition of the CHR personnel.

Furthermore, PAHRA demands the immediate removal of Chairperson Etta Rosales, Commissioners Ma. Victoria Cardona and Norberto dela Cruz for grave abuse of discretion.

The three CHR officials have tailor-fitted requirements and procedures for one who seems to be a pre-favored candidate for ED, Atty. Cebreros.

A janitress applicant required to undergo a neuro-psychological examination to clean the Chairperson’s office, but examinations needed for eligibility as ED, the top career position in the Commission to oversee the work and operations of the national office and 13 regional offices, are all set aside. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) advised that it should take at least a month to screen applicants/candidates for managerial positions but the vetting process were manipulatedly short-cutted by the 3 CHR officials to fast-track in four (4) working days said process of appointment.

What alarms PAHRA the most, if not acted upon by the appropriate authorities, 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.

This is unacceptable. This should stop now.

No to “midnight” appointment. Stop grave abuse of discretion.
Justice and dignity for us all,
Max M. de Mesa
Chairperson, PAHRA

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