“In accordance with Section 2 (iii) of EO 163, the Chairman and members of the CHRP are appointed by the President.
Further, and also in accordance with section 2 of EO 163, the Chairman and members must be Philippine citizens at least 35 years of age who were not candidates for any elective positions immediately preceding their appointment, and a majority must be members of the Philippine Bar. The SCA is of the view that the selection process currently enshrined in the existing legislation is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not:
– require the advertisement of vacancies;
– establish clear and uniform criteria upon which all parties assess the merit of eligible applicants; and
– specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.
The SCA notes that section 8 of the proposed CHR Act continues to provide that the Chairman and members of the CHRP are appointed by the President. The SCA is of the view that this amendment would not address the concerns outlined above with respect to the advertisement of vacancies and ensuring a process that achieves broad consultation.
Further, the SCA notes that section 7 of the proposed CHR Act expands the merit criteria to include a requirement to have a deep and comprehensive knowledge of, and practical experience for at least ten (10) years on human rights protection, promotion and policy advocacy.
The SCA is of the view that this amendment would sufficiently address the concern outlined above with respect to merit criteria.
It is critically important to ensure the formalization of a clear, transparent and participatory selection and appointment process for an NHRI’s decision-making body in relevant legislation, regulations or binding administrative guidelines, as appropriate. A process that promotes merit-based selection and ensures pluralism is necessary to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA urges the CHRP to advocate for the formalization and application of a selection process in the proposed CHR Act that includes requirements to:
a) Publicize vacancies broadly;
b) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
c) Promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
e) Select members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.”