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Militant groups dispute Rosales' nomination as CHR chief

July 15, 2010 4:54pm

Militant partylist representatives on Thursday asked President Benigno Aquino III to reconsider his choice of the next chairman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and urged him moreover to consult the victims of human right violations.

Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan and ACT Teachers and their representatives expressed strong reservations about the impending appointment of former Akbayan Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales to the CHR top post. (See: Bro. Eddie's son to head TESDA; Etta likely CHR)

They questioned the impartiality of Rosales who, on several occasions, had issued statements against the left-leaning organizations.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño added that the former Akbayan representative had been “heavily involved in the conflicts that cracked the human rights community in the past as well as now."

Malaking bagahe ito sa pagiging CHR chair nya kung saka-sakali because even within the human rights community e kinukwestyon yung kanyang kredibilidad at integridad," Casiño said in a press conference in Quezon City.

(This will weigh heavily on her role as CHR chair in case she's appointed, because even within the human rights community, her credibility and integrity is being questioned.)

Rosales could be ineffective in performing her duties because a huge segment of the human rights community — including victims of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances during and after martial law — are not convinced of her abilities, Casiño said.

Rosales has an ideological bias against the mainstream left when it comes to human rights issues, he added.

“Probably we suggest to the President to reconsider his decision, to hold more consultations maganda siguro makausap mismo at makonsulta rin ni Pangulong Aquino yung mga biktima ng (and it would be good too if President Aquino directly talks and consults with victims of) human rights violations and consider other qualified people to do the job," he said.

Start on right footing

Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan meanwhile said Aquino should start on the right footing.

“The president is obliged to look for somebody who would assume a stature almost the same as that of former chair Leila de Lima if we want a good reputation here and abroad in terms of human rights," she said.

She believed Rosales’ appointment could create some kind of a disturbance because certain human rights groups oppose her.

Kung ma-apoint si Etta (If Etta is appointed), it will be problematic with the human rights group to work with the CHR. That is a reality that President Noynoy Aquino must accept," former Bayan Muna Rep Satur Ocampo said.

Asked who they think should head the CHR, Ocampo said it should be someone with the caliber of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno or De Lima.

“(We admire) former Chief Justice Reynato Puno (but) I think he is very discreet enough not to accept any appointment after serving as CJ," he said.

Kailangang i-widen ni President Aquino saka yung kanyang search committee ang kanilang selection (President Aquino and his search committee should widen their selection)," he added.

SELDA is 'disgusted'

In a press statement Thursday, Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA) expressed disgust over Rosales’ looming appointment, claiming that she entered into brazen compromises at the expense of the victims of human rights violations during the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos' rule.

SELDA member Romeo Luneta said Rosales had sown disunity and created divisions among martial law victims by forming a breakaway group which allegedly took advantage of the victims solely for monetary claims.

Marie Hilao Enriquez, SELDA secretary general, said Rosales did not consult them and other victims when she drafted and filed her version of the Marcos Compensation Bill in 1998.

Rosales agreed with the compromise settlement with the Marcoses for pecuniary reasons, Enriquez said.

This was done in exchange for dropping the entire class suit and possibly granting Marcoses immunity from future suits and dropping all criminal and civil suits against the Marcoses, she added.

With Rosales’ appointment to the CHR, the group expect additional impediments to achieving justice for the human rights victims under the Marcos regime.

Rosales’ appointment defended

Akbayan, on the other hand, defended Rosales saying she is fit to head the human rights commission with her long experience and accomplishment as a seasoned human rights advocate.

Opposition to Rosales’ appointment was motivated more by ideological biases against her and Akbayan rather than by a sincere effort to make the institution more efficient in promoting human rights and securing justice for the abused, Akbayan said in a press statement.

“She has shown objectivity and openness in dealing with the intricacies of human rights and has repeatedly proven her firm and steady resolve to pursue and defend the people’s rights and freedom," Akbayan said. - RJAB Jr./JV, GMANews.TV
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