New CHR chair says he applied for the job out of concern for abused women, children

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2022 11:04 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2022 11:41 AM

Senate PRIB
Newly appointed Commission on Human Rights chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc appears at the Senate on Sept. 28, 2022. Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB

MANILA - Former Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Palpal-latoc said Wednesday he applied to become the next Commission on Human Rights chairperson out of his desire to protect women and children in distress.

“My career, probably destiny or whatever you may call it, I have been tasked to serve the interest of women, children, most especially on the protection of the neglected and abused children, and abused women. So perhaps, that is the primordial reason why I applied for the position,” Palpal-latoc told reporters at the Senate.

The newly appointed CHR chairperson was at the upper chamber of Congress for the presentation of his agency's proposed P846.4 million budget for 2023.

Palpal-latoc and his team appealed to the Senate sub-committee on finance for an increase in their budget so they could continuously support their programs, such as the provision of legal aid to the indigent.

Having served as deputy of Vic Rodriguez when the latter was President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.'s Executive Secretary, Palpal-latoc is being urged to show independence from the Palace.

Addressing the groups that aired such challenge, he said, "I issue the assurance that the CHR under my leadership would be fair, just and would render speedy justice to all. That is the only promise that I can give to the public."

"I serve with utmost dedication, unquestionable probity and speedy disposition of cases. I assure that,” the 48-year-old official added.

Palpal-latoc is also a law partner of Rodriguez. Both are alumni of the University of Santo Tomas.

The announcement of Palpal-latoc's transfer to the CHR came days after the resignation of Rodriguez as Executive Secretary to serve as Presidential Chief of Staff.

Asked about human rights violations reportedly committed by the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, including alleged extrajudicial killings that have since been brought to the attention of the International Criminal Court, Palpal-latoc said he still needs to review the matter.

According to the CHR, Palpal-latoc previously served as lawyer at the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of the Ombudsman.

His term at the CHR ends in 2029.

The CHR was established by the 1987 Constitution in response to the atrocities committed during the Martial Law declaration by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., father and namesake of the incumbent leader.

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