Beda Epres picked as CHR commissioner

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

September 27, 2022, 4:03 pm

MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has appointed lawyer Beda Epres as new commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Malacañang confirmed on Tuesday.

The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) released a copy of Epres' appointment paper inked by Marcos on Sept. 15.

Epres replaced former CHR commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz whose seven-year term ended on May 5.

Based on his appointment paper, Epres will serve as CHR commissioner until May 5, 2029.

Epres is the first out of the five anticipated members of the sixth batch of CHR en banc.

Prior to his appointment to CHR, Epres worked as Director IV at the Office of the Ombudsman's General Investigation Bureau.

Epres took up law at the Arellano University School of Law and was admitted to the Bar in 1995.

Early in his career, he was also an officer at the National Power Corporation and a part-time lecturer at the Far Eastern University, his alma mater.

Epres was part of the Office of the Ombudsman since 1997, starting as Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I at the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices.

He later led the monitoring team of the Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office (FIO) in 2008 and promoted as head and team leader of the FIO's Intelligence Bureau in 2009.

Epres assumed the position of acting director of the Ombudsman's Intelligence Bureau-FIO II in 2010 eventually appointed as director of the same office in 2011. He eventually moved to the Office of the Special Prosecutor until 2016.

In a statement, the CHR welcomed Epres' appointment and expressed optimism that the new commissioner will contribute to making the commission a "steadfast and formidable institution that caters to all people, especially the weak, vulnerable, and marginalized, and in responding to the present and emerging human rights challenges of our time."

"With the track record of Commissioner Epres, CHR welcomes his expertise and credibility in conducting independent probe which is crucial to human rights protection. Aside from focusing on investigations, which touches on CHR's protection mandate, Commissioner Epres would also like to advance the rights of older persons and children," the CHR said.

The CHR is an independent national human rights institution created under the 1987 Constitution and established on May 5, 1987 by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 163.

Under EO 163 signed in 1987, The CHR shall be composed of a chairperson and four commissioners appointed by the President.

Members of the commission will serve for seven years and cannot be reappointed.

The CHR is mandated to investigate all forms of human rights violations related to civil and political rights.

The constitutional body is given the power to conduct motu proprio investigations or to respond to complaints from parties whose human rights may have been violated. (PNA)