APL endorses Etta Rosales as CHR chief

ADDING its support to the possible appointment of Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales as the new head of the Commission on Human Rights, the Alliance of Progressive Labor dismissed all the fuss about the former Akbayan solon as mainly prompted by the worldview of some quarters that rejects anything and everything not to their liking.

In particular, the Akbayan-Citizens’ Action Party said that the opposition to the selection of Rosales “was motivated more by ideological biases against her and Akbayan rather than by a sincere effort to make (CHR) more efficient in promoting human rights and securing justice for the abused.”

Akbayan, which is now assured of at least two seats in the incoming 15th Congress after an impressive showing in the recent May 10 party-list election, added that Rosales “has shown objectivity and openness in dealing with the intricacies of human rights and has repeatedly proven her firm and steady resolve to pursue and defend the people’s rights and freedom.”

APL cited Rosales’ long track record in championing various facets of democracy and human rights, including labor and trade union rights and national sovereignty, through her deep involvement in different mass organizations since the heyday of the Marcos dictatorship – from teachers’ union and alliance to national multisectoral coalition to political groupings to human rights advocacy networks and to NGOs.

One of the tens of thousands of human rights victims of the Marcos regime, Rosales also became a political prisoner and was tortured and abused by her military captors.

Rosales was also the very first Akbayan congressional representative after the party won a seat in the first ever party-list election in 1998. She eventually served the maximum three consecutive terms, from the 11th to the 13th Congresses or from 1998 to 2007. She is now the party’s chairman-emeritus.

During her nine years in Congress, Rosales earned both the respect and fear of allies and foes, respectively, for her no-nonsense stance for progressive legislations and social advocacies as well as fierce criticism against corruption, patronage politics and many forms of abuses from within and outside the government, including her former comrades and even current colleagues in the broad Left movement.

For her all-encompassing activism and engagements, including her eventful chairmanship of the then House Committee on Human, Civil and Political Rights, Rosales gained not only many supporters and admirers but likewise virulent enemies and critics, ironically both from the state-security establishment and a segment of the Left.

This might partly explain, the APL said, the well orchestrated objection of several closely allied organizations to the supposed “offer” of President Aquino to Rosales – which she herself clarified as not yet final or still “unofficial” – to become the successor of ex-CHR Chair Leila de Lima, who’s now the Justice Secretary.

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