March 31, 2009
KIKO PANGILINAN: GIVE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS THE POWER TO PROSECUTE
Independent Senator and justice reforms advocate Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan restates the need for the Commission on Human Rights “to have prosecutorial powers, to give it teeth; to make it proactive and relevant.”
Pangilinan made the appeal in light of the commission’s unprecedented two-day inquiry into alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao. A bill on Crimes Against Humanity is currently being drafted in the Senate, in which Pangilinan is pushing for a specific amendment that will give CHR the power to prosecute.
The Bill, entitled An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law and Other Serious International Crimes, will be deliberated upon the Senate when sessions resume, with individual amendments including Pangilinan’s push for CHR’s having the power to prosecute.
“CHR’s measly power to recommend cases only contributes to delays and convolution in the justice system,” Pangilinan said. “We have to strike fears in the hearts of offenders. Giving CHR the power to prosecute will send a powerful message to vigilantes and their brand of street-justice execution.”
Pangilinan adds that giving CHR power to prosecute will also help immensely in putting a stop to extralegal executions, including media-and political-killings, that have gripped the Arroyo administration.
“These judicial reforms we are pushing for are meant to give citizens a structure, a framework that they can depend on. This is what Juvenile Justice is for. This is what Bantay-Korte Suprema is for. This is what the call for CHR’s prosecutorial powers is for. Justice cannot be arbitrary and whimsical.”