“The SCA notes that according to Section 2(iii) of EO 163, the Chairperson and members of the CHRP are appointed by the President and that currently the CHRP has three of its five members in post.
The CHRP reports that, despite this limitation, the Commission is able to exercise its decision-making power and has been effectively exercising its mandate. The SCA acknowledges that Section 8 of the proposed CHR Charter provides for the Chairperson and 4 members of the CHRP to be appointed by the President for a term of seven years without re-appointment.
Section 9 of the proposed CHR Charter provides that the process for appointment shall be led by a selection committee comprising of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as Chair of the Selection Committee, with the other members being Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Chair of the House Committee on Human Rights, former Chairperson or Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights, duly nominated by the incumbent Members of the Commission, three members of civil society groups belonging to organizations working mainly on the different aspects of human rights in the country, and a representative from the legal profession and duly nominated by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
The proposed CHR Charter also provides for requirements to publicize vacancies broadly and ensure that nominees for appointment to the vacant position/s represent diverse groups. The proposed CHR Charter states the Selection Committee shall convene immediately, upon due notice from the CHRP that vacancy exists or that the term of the current Commission Members ends within five (5) months.
The SCA is of the view that the provisions of the proposed CHR Charter on the selection and appointment process, if passed in their present form, would address the SCA’s previously stated concerns. However, the SCA is concerned that the CHRP is currently operating without its full complement of commissioners and is of the view that there is a need to maintain the permanency and institutional independence of the NHRI.
The SCA urges the CHRP to continue to advocate for the passage of the proposed CHR Charter and recommends further that the CHRP advocate for the timely selection and appointment of the remaining two commissioners to ensure full leadership in line with the minimum standards of independence, effectiveness, and continuity of an NHRI, and to ensure pluralism in the composition of its leadership body.
The SCA refers to Paris Principle B.1 and to its General Observation 1.8 on ‘Selection and appointment of the decision-making body of NHRIs’.”