MANILA, Philippines – Over two months into his term, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. finally named a new commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights – an agency created as a response to atrocities under his father’s tyrannical rule.
In a statement on Tuesday, September 27, the CHR confirmed the appointment of Beda Angeles Epres as the CHR’s new commissioner, taking over the post of retired commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz. Even before Angeles’ confirmation, talk about Epres’ appointment had been going around.
Marcos took over 80 days before he was able to appoint a member of the CHR en banc. The current president still needs to appoint three more commissioners and chairperson to complete the en banc.
Before the May 9 elections, the CHR’s fifth en banc, composed of appointees by the late president Benigno Aquino III, ended their seven-year term. Late CHR chairperson Chito Gascon did not finish his term after he succumbed to COVID-19 in October 2021. He was 57 years old.
New Commissioner Epres will serve until 2029, since CHR commissioners and the chairperson have 7-year terms under Executive Order No. 163.
Epres is a career official at the Office of the Ombudsman, having served as its investigation bureau director. Prior to his appointment, he served as the director of the Ombudsman’s General Investigation Bureau.
He also served as Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer.
The new CHR commissioner is often shortlisted for higher Ombudsman positions, including the deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao and the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas. In 2019, he was also shortlisted for the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon post.
In 2021, Epres was shortlisted for the position of Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices. – Rappler.com