CHR Chair acting like PNP-AFP spokesperson should resign

“Ms. Etta Rosales should immediately resign from her post as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights as she is acting more like the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, instead of fulfilling the mandate of her office. Etta Rosales has been repeatedly remiss in her responsibilities, and in the process, justified the violation of the rights of the Filipino people to freedom of speech, of expression and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances as enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Philippine Constitution.”

CHR Rosales 

Karapatan issued the statement today through its chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez. The rights group cited the previous actions and statements by Rosales which in effect promote impunity in the country.

Hilao-Enriquez said “instead of conducting CHR’s own investigations on the many incidents of police brutality in rallies and barricades during demolitions, Ms. Rosales, in many occasion, only resorted to victim-blaming.”

Karapatan noted Rosales’s recent statements blaming members of various people’s organizations for the brutal dispersal of the rally during Pres. Aquino’s State of the Nation Address. The human rights organization also took exception of Rosales’ statement condemning the participation of Dutch activist Thomas von Beersum in the said rally. 

“The permit of the organizers of the rally was denied, concertina wires and blockades were mounted along the highway where we marched. Despite our efforts to negotiate with the PNP, they treacherously started to push and beat our colleagues. The brutal police action prompted many of us, including foreign activists like Beersum, to express indignation. Rosales was quick to blame us, acting as the PNP spokesperson, instead of doing her job to investigate what actually transpired,” Enriquez said. 

Also, Enriquez said, “Rosales was more concerned with condemning how the urban poor residents at North Triangle, Quezon City who “threw feces” at the police and demolition teams that supposedly violated the rights of the men in uniform. She completely ignored the forcible eviction and the consequent economic displacement of the urban poor.”

“When poor people are left with no other choice but to defend their survival, it is just to exercise their legitimate right to protest. Ironically, Rosales chose to dispense with the role of the Aquino government, the local government, the Ayalas and the PNP in driving away the urban poor in North Triangle from their homes and livelihood to make way for big business interests,” added Enriquez.

Karapatan also scored the CHR for the issuance of clearances for the promotion of human rights violators and Arroyo generals such as Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año and Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad. Karapatan opposed the appointments of Año, who is among the accused in the disappearance of Jonas Burgos; and Baladad who is among those responsible for the illegal arrest, torture and detention of the 43 health workers known as Morong 43. 

“We have strong reason to believe that the CHR and Ms. Rosales granted the said generals with clearances without considering the standing cases in court against them. The CHR denied our request for access to the clearance documents which they issued, a clear violation of the right of the people to information and access to public documents,” Enriquez asserted. 

“By acting as the defender of the PNP and the AFP, Rosales is clearly among the implementers of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, which has already resulted to,  and engenders  more,  human rights violations,” she concluded.