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University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law



Submitted by: David, Peter Carlo P.

Commission on Human Rights

The Commission on Human Rights is an independent office created by the Constitution of the Philippines, with the primary function of investigating all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights in the Philippines. 1 The Commission is composed of a Chairperson and four members. The Constitution requires that a majority of the Commissions members must be lawyers. The Commission originated from the Presidential Committee on Human Rights established in 1986 by President Corazon Aquino, which was chaired by former Senator Jose Diokno and former Supreme Court Associate Justice J.B.L. Reyes. A separate Commission on Human Rights was established upon the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution.2 Lawyers would be the one of the best options for people to be in this commission, and thus a lawyer in his pursuit of justice as well as serving the government and the people would be enticed to work with the CHR. Its Website at the official page: composes of numerous information that can be of great help to a lawyer or someone who aspires to become one. On its HomePage: The Homepage of the Website of the CHR will first reveal a dozen of updates and advisory on some of the vital aspects of the entire commission like the speech of the commissioner with regard to the COUNTDOWN ON THE SENATES APPROVAL OF THE COMPENSATION BILL FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS VICTIMS DURING MARTIAL LAW, and other relevant advisories. This can serve as additional information and the continuous improvement of learning of Lawyers as part of their vow to the Integrated Bar. A lawyer would be the proper person to defend the security of rights of every citizen in the Philippines like the CHR is made up for, thus it is necessary and important for lawyers to be aware and acquainted with the different rules and procedure, charters, and guide books provided by the CHR website on Right side of the webpage. There are also numerous legislative enactments that can be found in the homepage which can be of useful benefit to Lawyers such as the Anti Torture Act.

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Section 18, Article XIII, Constitution of the Philippines

Press Release are also important in the sense that lawyers can gain knowledge on the actions and decisions of the CHR with regard to matters affecting Human Rights and its defense. Such press release are the likes of SENSELESS KILLINGS MUST BE STOPPED!

On the Homepage, a lawyer can also view the different areas of the website of CHR and how it can be of help to a Lawyer.

On the Homepage, one can view the subject ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS which consists of dozens of advisories and resolutions of the CHR on the matters of protecting Human Rights of the Citizens of the Philippines. On this link of the about human rights a lawyer can find a lot of information that can be of help in aid of investigation of crimes of different kinds like security, dangerous drugs, energy penal system, ethics, politics and many other kinds of offenses which are necessary for the work of a Lawyer.

Next subject on the Home page is the Program and Services. This is where a lawyer can best utilize his skills and learning, when one applies such skill to the implementation of defending the rights of the people. A lawyer can benefit of these following programs not just for the aid of investigation but also for the purpose of continuing his learning. Various programs are placed in the link which a lawyer can do best because of its specialized training in the field of law, they have the Human Rights Protection Program and its concept that: It is the CHRP policy to be fully aware of progress and status of cases and complaints it has forwarded/referred to government agencies and other instrumentalities for appropriate action. Another program is the Human Rights Promotion Program where the Commission on Human Rights, a government constitutional office is mandated to establish a continuing program of research, education, and to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights. They also have the program Human Rights Linkages Development and Strategic Planning where The LPD shall monitor bills with human rights implications filed in Congress and coordinate in the preparation of the CHRP position on proposed measures. And also Special Programs where A system of developing and monitoring rights-based programs and measures across institutions aimed at creating enabling environment for poverty reduction linked with the nine (9) components of good governance.

The Links Section is provided with the various tie ups of the CHR with other institutions that can also help lawyers to search for other remedies or information with regard to the principal functions of a lawyer with regard to the CHR.

The Speech Link is where lawyers can search different speeches made by the commissioners, chairperson, and distinguished guest with regard to the CHR. A lawyer can benefit from these speeches into helping ones self to improve more as contemplated in one the canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility: A lawyer owes it to himself to continue improving ones knowledge in the field of law.

The Site Map is the subject where a lawyer can view the whole website of the CHR and find what its looking for in the webpage of CHR. The subject on the HomePage at the middle area of the page is the HR Protection clause, This clause has the concept of the CHRP policy to be fully aware of progress and status of cases and complaints it has forwarded/referred to government agencies and other instrumentalities for appropriate action. Lawyers will have many benefits in the sense of learning and helping in through the CHR by some of the actions that the CHR are taking into effecting the proper Human Rights security to all the citizens such as to Conduct studies and design policies and procedures in the conduct of appropriate human rights investigative intervention.

The objective of the HR protection which is in line with the functions of a lawyer is listed in the following: Objectives: 1. To regularize monitoring of cases and complaints through right-based networking with concerned agencies. 2. To present an expanded monitoring procedure to the CHRP that should not only update and present the progress of cases and complaints, but capacitate CHRP in initiating, recommending and developing the adoption of right-based approach measures, in cooperation and collaboration with the judicial and quasi-judicial agencies, in improving the administration of justice. 3. To establish a distinct relationship with the courts for the enforcement of CHRP decisions by the courts through appropriate cooperation and collaboration. 4. To maintain a suitable documentation of cases and complaints being monitored to effectively carry-out its complementary role to the power enjoyed by the courts, especially in delivering rights-based resolution of cases.

These objectives may be useful to a lawyer in handling cases that are in line with these objectives as well as the possible employment of such. On the HR PROMOTION subject, this area is where a lawyer can find the Education and Research Office which aims to implement the main provision of the Memorandum of Agreement, a joint

project was undertaken entitled: Writing Workshop in the Development of Human Rights Education Teaching Exemplars for the Elementary and the Secondary Levels. A lawyer will be most suitable for these kinds of projects of research as it tackles the Human Rights of every individual which is also contemplated in the Article on Bill of Rights provided in the constitution. A lawyer can also help a lot of people by divulging into these programs and educate others in the system of Human Rights awareness and protection. Lawyers can also be part of this program and help build a community who is aware of their Human Rights.

Another division of the CHR is the Legislative and Program Division which aims to institutionalize collaborative systems and arrangements with government agencies on the development and implementation of administrative issuances and legislative measures with human rights provisions, to ensure the faithful compliance by the government with international human rights standards. Lawyers are the best person for this type of jobs; Lawyers are well versed and aware of the different provisions and constitutionality of a Law or International Legislature. In these division, it is also advised that lawyers be the members of this division, as lawyers will already be in the paradigm of this objective.

The major plans of this Division is: 1). To request the CHRP management for additional warm bodies to complement the unrealistically small composition of the Division otherwise, the functions and mandates of the LPD should be transferred to the Legal Office; where they properly belong. 2). to recommend for the modification, amendment or repeal of existing laws and administrative Issuances of the government that are not compliant, with international human rights standards. - A Lawyer will be well suitable for these plans especially with the modification, amendment or repeal of existing laws and administrative issuances, Lawyers will know what to repeal or amend because it is one of the specialties of lawyers to be versed with different kinds of Laws.

Finally, the last subject that lawyers can benefit from the website is the Special Programs The special programs consists of different fields or areas of the CHR on which it attaches itself to the idea of Human Rights in these different fields such as Barangay Human Rights Action Center (BHRAC) , HR Teaching Exemplars , Child Rights Center , Women's Rights Program Center , AsiaPacific Institute of Human Rights As the national human rights institution for the protection and promotion of human rights both under the Philippine Constitution and the United Nations System, the Commission on Human Rights is empowered to initiate and sustain application of the rights- based approach to governance to facilitate convergence of human rights and development. The above mentioned programs are the different programs to which Lawyers can be part of. Lawyers can participate in these kinds of program to attain its goal of administering justice and also help a lot of people about the Human Rights by means educating them.

Almost every program initiated by the CHR can be of benefit to Lawyers, may it be programs, speeches, links, even news and reports. This Commission believes in the power of justice as means coping with the bad elements of the society who defies the Human Rights of every individual. A lawyer on the other hand who adheres to the promotion of justice and fairness is in line with every advocacy and programs of the commission, Lawyers will be better partners in this Commission as it went through the rigors of training to be of good use to the society and that is to serve the people.