Beda Epres named as new CHR commissioner

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2022 04:37 PM | Updated as of Sep 27 2022 11:27 PM

CHR Commissioner Beda Epres. Handout. 
CHR Commissioner Beda Epres. Handout

MANILA (UPDATE)— President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has named lawyer Beda Epres as commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), his first appointee to the body created in response to the atrocities committed during Martial Law imposed by his father.

Epres is also the first of the five anticipated appointments for the constitutional body's 6th commission en banc. Since May 5, the CHR has been without a chairperson and commissioners. 

Epres takes over the post left by former Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz.

The transmittal letter from the Palace showed Marcos appointed Epres on Sept. 15. He will have a 7-year term as commissioner, which ends on May 5, 2029.

Epres' previous work focused on investigation, having served as prosecutor at the Office of the Ombudsman since 1997. 

Beda Epres named as new CHR commissioner

"With the track record of Commissioner Epres, CHR welcomes his expertise and credibility in conducting independent probe which is crucial to human rights protection," he CHR said in a statement. 

"Aside from focusing on investigations, which touches on CHR's protection mandate, Commissioner Epres would also like to advance the rights of older persons and children," it added.

The 51-year-old started his work as a graft investigation and prosecution officer at the Office of the Ombudsman, working with its military and law enforcement offices.

In 2008, he led the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office's monitoring team. He became the team lead of its intelligence bureau the following year, its acting director in 2010, and then as director in 2011.

WATCH

Watch more News on iWantTFC

He was then moved to the Office of the Special Prosecutor where he worked until 2016. 

Until his appointment to the CHR, Epres was a Director IV of the General Investigation Bureau-A under the Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office. 

Epres graduated with a political science degree from the Far Eastern University. He obtained his law degree from the Arellano University School of Law in 1995 and passed the Bar exams the same year.

He taught at the Far Eastern University and was an officer at the National Power Corporation during the early parts of his career.

The CHR is one of the constitutional commissions formed under the 1987 Constitution and was ratified after the ouster of former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.

The establishment of the CHR was pioneered, among others, by human rights advocate Jose Diokno, one of Marcos Sr.'s staunch critics who headed the commission's predecessor, the Presidential Committee on Human Rights, in 1986.

Marcos Jr. had raised the importance of "accountability in terms of human rights" in a meeting with UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez in early June when he was already the country's presumptive president.

He had also said he would prioritize the rehabilitation of drug users and veer away from the violent drug war policy of his predecessor President Rodrigo Duterte. 

— With a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News