New CHR chief: PH human rights situation ‘fine and fair’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — Recently appointed Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc on Wednesday called the human rights situation in the Philippines "fine" and “fair.”

“Fine. The human rights situation in the country I think it’s fair, the justice system is working, human rights as the agency itself is functioning well, so we keep on monitoring the compliance by the government of the international commitment,” he said.

Palpal-latoc made the remark amid the ongoing disagreement between the Department of Justice and the International Criminal Court (ICC) about the latter's drug war probe in the country.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said there’s no need for the country to formally respond to ICC prosecutor’s insistence to resume the investigation as the Philippines already withdrew during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

The human rights chair said CHR is not involved in the investigation of ICC and recommends the country’s cooperation to the probe.

Palpal-latoc also vowed that the commission, under his leadership, will be fair and will render speedy justice to all.

“That is the only promise I can give to the public. I serve with utmost dedication and unquestionable probity,” he said.

This was after Bagong Alyansang Makabayan’s (BAYAN) called on the new CHR chair to show independence from Malacañang “despite his previous proximity to the halls of power as a Palace official."

Prior to his CHR appointment, Palpal-latoc served as deputy executive secretary for legal affairs under the Office of the President. He also said he was previously a law firm partner of Atty. Vic Rodriguez, who is President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s chief of staff and former executive secretary.

According to CHR, Palpal-latoc hopes to expand the organization's work in economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as strengthen the rights of families, children, and women.