THE Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution on Monday voted 16-1-1 to elevate the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to the status of an independent constitutional body “to enhance its fiscal autonomy.”
However, the ConCom clarified that the CHR, as a constitutional body, would not have prosecutorial powers.
“It does not, however, include the grant of prosecutorial powers. The elevation of the CHR to the level of a constitutional body would also involve strengthening its investigative powers and expanding membership to include representatives from, among others, the marginalized sector, indigenous peoples and environmental advocates,” said ConCom spokesman Ding Generoso.
Former senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., inhibited himself from voting because his daughter, lawyer Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, was a CHR commissioner.
The ConCom wants to expand CHR’s mandate and coverage to include not just state (government) actors but also non-state (or private) actors; the second generation (socioeconomic) human rights; and third generation (environmental) of human rights, which were also proposed to be made part of the Bill of Rights, Generoso said. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO