Ombudsman orders suspension of CHR commissioner

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the immediate preventive suspension of a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) official, who was sued by a former employee for various allegations of misconduct.
In an order dated Feb. 14, 2014, the Ombudsman ordered Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing suspended without pay for six months pending investigation of cases filed against her.
According to the Ombudsman, preventive suspension can be meted if the evidence  of guilt is strong and that the charges involved oppression and grave misconduct which may eventually warrant removal from office. The order shall not be un interrupted within the prescribed period notwithstanding an appeal, motion or petition that may be filed by Quisumbing.
The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating Quisumbing  for administrative and criminal cases which stemmed from a formal complaint filed by one Regina Eugenio last September 24, 2013 against her  former employer Com. Quisumbing ( OMB-C-A 13 -0334 :  Violation of RA 6713  Sec. 7(d) or  Solicitation or Acceptance of Gifts ) and Criminal case  (OMB-C-C- 13-0354: Violation of RPC 210- Direct Bribery, RA 3019 Sec 3(b), 3(c), 3 (e) 6713  Sec. 7(d) ) and RA 6713  Sec. 7(d) . The complaints were corroborated by three other former co-workers of Eugenio.
Another Commissioner of the CHR, Com. Norberto dela Cruz is also facing  several complaints from his former driver, Nemesio Mendoza filed with the Office of Chairperson last 2013 and August 2013  The complaints earlier include alleged unfair labor practice and immorality.  
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) had been assisting the complainants in their quest for justice against the alleged human rights violations committed by CHR officials.  PAHRA, in the meantime, has also complied with the request by the Legal Affairs Office of the Office of the President to submit supporting documents of the cases and other concerns involving the two Commissioners.
Max de Mesa, Chairperson of PAHRA, said: “Such incidences of violations, though alleged, by avowed promoters and protectors of human rights, cannot but erode the credibility of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).”   
PAHRA reiterated its call to:
To designate an independent committee of inquiry especially regarding the case against Com. Norberto dela Cruz as well as to recommend measures and actions that would strengthen the CHR; 
To certify as urgent the passage of the new Charter of the CHR with the added provisions on the selection process of the Commissioners and the Mechanism for Transparency and Accountability of the Commissioners and Directors; 
To create a committee that would propose a process of selection for the next new members of the CHR similar to the selection of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.