“The SCA notes that EO 163 is silent on the dismissal process for the Chairman and members of the CHRP. The SCA further notes that the CHRP has indicated that grounds and procedures for dismissal for the Chairman and members are currently governed by Republic Act number 6713, Code of Conduct and Ethical standards for public officials.

The SCA notes that section 9 of the proposed CHR Act provides that the Chairman and members may be removed for office for a) disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines; b) culpable violation of the Constitution; c) bribery and graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of trust; d) dishonesty, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty; e) commission of any offence involving moral turpitude or an offence punishable by imprisonment for more than six (6) years; and f) abuse of authority. The SCA is of the view that the grounds for dismissal outlined in the proposed CHR Act are far-reaching and may be open to misuse.

Further, the SCA notes that section 9 of the proposed CHR Act provides that the dismissal process is commenced by the filing of a verified complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman. The SCA notes that the enabling law does not appear to place limitations placed on who may initiate such a complaint.

The SCA is of the view that, in order to address the Paris Principles requirement for a stable mandate, which is important in reinforcing independence, the enabling law of an NHRI must contain an independent and objective dismissal process. The dismissal must be made in conformity with all the substantive and procedural requirements prescribed by law.

The grounds for dismissal must be clearly defined and appropriately confined to only those actions which impact on the capacity of the members to fulfil their mandate. Where appropriate, the legislation should specify that the application of a particular ground must be supported by a decision of an independent body with appropriate jurisdiction. Dismissal should not be allowed solely on the discretion of the appointing authorities.

Such requirements ensure the security of tenure of the members of the governing body and are essential to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.”