MANILA - Officers of the Commission on Human Rights should also be impeachable, according to the deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives amid criticisms from several lawmakers that the agency is not fulfilling its mandate.
Speaking to ANC Tuesday, ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera said this proposal is already contained in a resolution he filed that would upgrade the CHR into a constitutional commission like the Commission on Audit or the Commission on Elections.
The lawmaker, who backed a P1,000 budget for the rights body, said that in the current setup, only the Ombudsman can discipline or remove the agency's officials on the grounds of dishonesty or grave misconduct among others.
"Their commissioners, their chairman would be impeachable officers. They will not just be removed because of just cause. They should be impeached before they will be removed. They will be more independent of the appointing authority," he said.
CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon has been criticized by President Rodrigo Duterte and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for being biased in his actions as the agency's leader. Alvarez has also called for Gascon's resignation.
Despite this, Gascon said he will not resign from his post as he is determined to finish his term and defend CHR's independence amid the current "external pressure."
"I will stand my ground, I will not abandon my watch," he vowed.