Commission on Human Rights

Retired CA justice Monina Zenarosa is new CHR commissioner

Jodesz Gavilan

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Retired CA justice Monina Zenarosa is new CHR commissioner

NEW COMMISSIONER. Commissioner Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa takes her oath before Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

Presidential Communications Office

(1st UPDATE) President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is still missing one more commissioner to complete the five-person en banc of the Commission on Human Rights

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is close to completing the five-member leadership of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) with the appointment of retired Court of Appeals (CA) associate justice Monina Arevalo Zenarosa as commissioner.

A document seen by Rappler showed that Marcos signed Zenarosa’s appointment paper on Tuesday, March 23, or almost three months after the President named Faydah Maniri Dumarpa as CHR commissioner.

A photo posted by the Presidential Communications Office showed Zenarosa taking her oath before Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

Sa kanyang malawak na karanasan sa larangan ng batas at pangangalaga sa karapatang pantao, magiging responsable si CHR Commissioner Zenarosa sa pagpapatupad ng mga karapatan ng lahat ng Pilipino, partikular na ng mga marhinalisado,” the PCO said in a press statement.

(With her wide-ranging experience on law and protection of human rights, CHR Commissioner Zenarosa will be responsible for upholding and respecting human rights of all, especially the marginalized.)

Zenarosa is expected to serve a seven-year term or until 2029, together with other CHR commissioners, as indicated in Executive Order No. 163 released in 1987.

Zenarosa, who retired from the CA in 2009, is the fourth commissioner to join the CHR en banc, the highest decision-making body of the independent commission created in response to the atrocities committed under the rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the father of the incumbent president.

His namesake and only son still has to appoint one more commissioner to complete the en banc almost a year since the previous leadership – all appointed under then-president Benigno Aquino III – ended their term in May 2022.

Marcos has so far appointed four in the five-person en banc, including CHR Chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc and Commissioner Beda Epres, both named in September 2022, and Dumarpa who was appointed on December 28, 2022.

Prior to joining CHR, Zenarosa served as CA associate justice from 2004 to 2009, during the term of then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

She also chaired the Independent Commission Against Private Armies, created in 2009 under Arroyo to “address the alleged existence of private armies in the country by investigating the existence of private armed groups with a view to dismantling them permanently.”

Zenarosa, born in 1939 in Masbate, worked as a member of the Boards of Pardons and Parole under the Department of Justice from 2015 to March 2022.  

Prior to her stint at the appellate court, she served as prosecutor for 15 years, and regional trial court judge for 14 years.

Zenarosa obtained her law degree from the University of Santo Tomas and passed the Bar in 1959. –

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.