Dela Rosa to CHR: Hire investigators who are ‘pro-police, pro-military’ too
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa advised the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to open up its recruitment of investigators to those who are “pro-police” or “pro-military.”
During Tuesday’s Senate deliberations on CHR’s proposed budget for 2021, Dela Rosa, a former national police chief, said the constitutional body’s conduct of investigations into violations involving the security sector would be more effective if it would employ pro-police or pro-military probers.
“If I may, to the Commission on Human Rights, magbigay lang sana ako sa inyo ng unsolicited advice kung paano kayo maka-recrute…Kasi nakikita ko parang kulang sa attraction ‘yung ginagawa niyong recruitment,” the senator said.
“Sana huwag niyong i-limit ‘yung recuitment ninyo…Baka may unwritten qualifications kayo diyan na dapat ‘yung papasok sa CHR ay hindi pro-government, hindi pro-military, hindi pro-police,” he added.
He then cited as an example CHR’s former commissioner, Atty. Dominador Calamba II, who was a reserve officer in the military.
Calamba served as CHR’s Davao Region director before becoming a commissioner, CHR chair Chito Gascon noted.
“Yung si Atty. Calamba na ‘yun, he was a human rights lawyer at the same time he was a reservist in the military. Reserve officer po siya kaya he can play both sides and he was very effective,” Dela Rosa continued.
He also recalled that Calamba had also previously investigated him when he was still a low-ranking police officer in Davao.
“Naiimbistigahan niya ko noon. He can just get inside the camp and conduct investigations dahil siya ay reservist. Kaya very effective po siya sa kanyang mandate as a human rights investigator,” Dela Rosa said.
“Gusto ko lang mag-advise sa inyo na mag-recruit din kayo ng mag pro-military, pro-police dahil madaling makapasok dun sa mga kampo ‘pag nag-conduct ng investigation,” he added.
Thank you, but…
Gascon thanked Dela Rosa for his advice but pointed out that political affiliation is never considered in CHR’s recruitment and promotion process.
“We just focus on the qualification standards,” he asserted.
The CHR chair also said that the commission actively coordinates with the security sector in the conduct of investigation involving its personnel.
“The CHR works with and engages the security sector on a partnership basis. Both the police and military already have what I refer to as human rights affairs offices. In fact, the head of the human rights affairs office is part of the senior command staff,” Gascon said.
“We are doing our level best to improve this relationship with human rights officers in the police and the military,” he added.
Further, he said that the CHR is also improving its human rights education.
“Iniimbita ‘yung aming regional directors na nagiging resource persons sa mga human rights training sa loob ng security sector. This is continuing,” Gascon added.
Gascon then told lawmakers that its regional officers are being encouraged to quickly fill up vacant positions in CHR.
“We are really trying to push our human resources to do more and to do better in both recruitment and promotion and hopefully, itong 165 vacant positions, in the next three and a half months, will ultimately be filled,” Gascon said.
As an independent constitutional office, the CHR plays an oversight function on the compliance of the government in protecting and upholding the rights of all citizens.
The CHR’s mandate also includes the conduct of investigations into human rights violations committed against marginalized and vulnerable sectors.
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