Thursday, August 19, 2010

Desaparecidos, police abuse top new CHR chief's agenda

Desaparecidos, police abuse top new CHR chief's agenda*

Posted at 08/18/2010

MANILA, Philippines - The incoming chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday said she will prioritize major human rights issues such as extrajudicial killings, involuntary disappearances and police brutality once she takes over the commission.

In a statement, former Akbayan party-list representative Etta Rosales said she is already making a list of priority issues once she takes over the CHR.

“I will ensure that the commission under my stewardship will not be beholden to any politician or any group but only to the universal principles of human rights. I will only be impartial to the respect and recognition of human dignity,” she said.

To ensure that she will be able to focus on the gargantuan task as CHR chair, Rosales said she is ready to take a leave of absence from Akbayan, a party that she thrice represented in the House of Representatives.

“Once the appointment is made formal, I will take a leave from Akbayan,” she said.

President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III confirmed Wednesday he is appointing Rosales as the new CHR chairwoman. He told reporters he is just waiting for Rosales's appointment papers to be prepared so that he can sign them.

Aquino and Rosales were colleagues in the 11th Congress and were both active members of the House Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights.

A staunch human rights defender, Rosales led 9,839 Marcos human rights victims who filed and won a class action suit in the US Hawaii District Court. In its decision, the court said the Marcoses are liable for $1.9 billion exemplary and compensatory damages to the victims.

Karapatan secretary-general Marie-Hilao Enriquez earlier criticized Rosales for supporting a compromise settlement with the Marcoses and establishing a separate group of victims that would choose monetary settlement over justice for the entire class.