Revised Rules of the CHR in the Conduct of Investigation/Hearing of Complaints for Violation of Human Rights
CHR Resolution No. A89-109-A

July 19, 1989



Pursuant to the provision of subparagraph 2, Section 18, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution, the Commission on Human Rights hereby promulgates and adopts the following rules of procedures in the investigation of complaints for violation of human rights to be known as the Rules of the Commission.

SECTION 1. Scope of Jurisdiction.

In order to give meaning to and implement the declared principle and policy of the State to "value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect for human rights" (Sec. 11, Art. II of the Constitution), and pursuant to the provisions of Sections 17, 18 and 19, Article XIII thereof, as well as of Executive Order No. 163, dated 5 May 1987, the Commission has jurisdiction to take cognizance of and "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights", such as: ISHaCD

a. Right to life;

b. Right to liberty;

c. Right to security;

d. Right to respect for one's dignity;

e. Right to marry and to found a family;

f. Right to own property;

g. Freedom from slavery and servitude;

h. Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment;

i. Freedom from arbitrary interference with one's privacy, family, home, or correspondence;

j. Freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile;

k. Freedom of movement and residence;

l. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and

m. Freedom of opinion and expression. EACTSH

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions.

In the conduct of investigations and hearings of cases, the Commission shall have the following powers and functions, viz.:

a. to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights;

b. to conduct any hearing, to issue subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum directing any person to attend and testify at any hearing or meeting conducted by it, or for the purpose of taking his sworn statements or deposition, and to bring with him or produce any books, papers, records, documents or other things under his possession, control or custody;

c. to grant immunity from criminal prosecutions to any person whose testimony, or whose possession or custody of documents or other pieces of evidence, is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any investigation or hearing conducted by it or under its authority.

d. to cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate penalties in accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court;

e. to call upon any department, bureau, office or agency of the Government for assistance;

f. to appoint counsel de oficio for pauper litigants who are unable to secure the assistance of counsel;

g. to issue such orders as may be proper and necessary at any stage of the investigation or hearing;

h. to administer oaths or affirmations, thru any of its members or its duly-authorized legal officers, and to take such testimony as it may deem relevant to any investigation conducted by it or under its authority; and

i. to do and perform any and all such other powers and functions as are inherent in quasi-judicial bodies which are requisite and necessary to achieve the mandate and objectives assigned to it by the Constitution and law. HcSaTI

These powers and functions shall be exercised and discharged by the Commission en banc or any of its divisions, Directors and Regional Officers (Directors) and duly designated Legal Officers, except those enumerated under subparagraph c and d which are vested solely in the Commission.

SECTION 3. Motu Proprio Investigations.

In motu proprio investigations of any case, the Commission shall gather such evidence, information and/or data as are relevant and competent and, after affording the parties the opportunity to be heard in accordance with these Rules, dispose of the case as may be warranted by the law and the evidence.

SECTION 4. Complaints, How Filed.

Complaints for violation of human rights shall substantially conform to the following:

a. Who may file complaint:

Any person, relative or friend of such person, whose civil or political rights have been violated by anybody may file a complaint before the Commission, either personally or through counsel.

b. Contents of complaint:

No specific form for a complaint is prescribed. It shall be sufficient that the complaint be under oath of the complainant or his counsel, and that it contains the following:

i. Name and address of the complainant and his legal capacity to file the complaint;

ii. Names and addresses of probable respondents;

iii. A clear and concise statement of the act complained of or of the ground/s of the complaint, preferably with a citation of the particular provision of whatever law has been allegedly violated;

iv. Affidavit/s of the complainant/s and his witness/es and other pertinent documents as annexes;

v. Remedy or relief prayed for.

SECTION 5. Venue.

Complaints may be filed in the Central Office of the Commission or in any of its Regional Offices and Regional Sub-Offices where the offense has been committed at the option of complainant.

SECTION 6. Change of Venue.

Upon motion of any party to the case or motu proprio, the Commission may transfer the venue of hearing of the case to any Regional or Provincial Office or to the Central Office in the interest of justice.

SECTION 7. Determination of Jurisdiction.

The Commission shall determine whether or not it has jurisdiction over the complaint on the basis of allegations therein and/or other relevant evidence submitted to it. If the Commission finds that it has no jurisdiction over the acts complained of, the complaint shall either be dismissed or referred to the proper government department, agency or office for appropriate action, with notice to the complainant.

SECTION 8. Investigation of Complaints.

Where the acts complained of fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission as shown by the allegations of the complaint, affidavits or sworn statements submitted to it, the Clerk of the Commission or Deputy Clerk shall issue a subpoena/summons, either by personal service or registered mail, to the respondent advising him to answer the complaint or to submit a counter-affidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses, if any, and other supporting documents. The subpoena/summons shall specify that respondent has ten (10) days from receipt thereof to file his answer or counter-affidavit and documents to the Commission. cACEaI

a. The subpoena/summons shall be accompanied with a copy each of the complaint, affidavits/sworn statements of the complainant and of his witnesses.

b. The subpoena/summons shall also inform the respondent as to the date, time and place of hearing of the case, and to embody therein a notice that the investigation or hearing shall proceed without the respondent if the subpoena/summons cannot be served upon him personally or thru substituted service, or, although served, respondent does not appear before the Commission in person or by counsel. Should the respondent fail or choose not to submit his answer to the complaint or to file his counter-affidavits, the Commission shall proceed to hear the case ex-parte and decide the case according to the evidence adduced.

c. The affidavits/statements of the respondent and his witnesses shall be sworn to before any government official authorized to administer oaths, or before a notary public. The respondent shall file with the Commission or Regional Office, as the case may be, two (2) copies of his answer or counter-affidavits and other supporting documents, and to furnish the complainant with one copy each of the same.

SECTION 9. Rights of Respondents.

No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under investigation as a respondent by the Commission shall be informed of his right to remain silent and to be assisted by counsel of his choice. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of the Constitution or of this section shall be inadmissible in any proceeding against any person other than the person or persons who obtained the confession.

SECTION 10. Procedure During Hearing.

Hearing of cases shall be conducted en banc or by any of its divisions, Director, Regional Officers (Directors), duly authorized legal officers or investigating committees. Nevertheless, when so recommended by the division, Regional Officer (Director), legal officer, investigating committee or motu proprio, the Commission may suspend the hearing by the division, Regional Officer (Director), legal officer or investigating committee and proceed to hear the case en banc. These hearings shall be as expeditious as practicable. ACaEcH

The affidavits/sworn statements of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as those of the respondent and his witnesses, shall serve as their respective direct testimony subject only to clarificatory questions to be propounded by the hearing officer.

For this purpose, the respective counsels for the complainant and the respondent may submit to the Commission or any of its investigating authority conducting the hearing, a typewritten set of proposed clarificatory questions to be propounded on the complainant or the respondent and their witnesses, on or before the date and time of hearing. The Commission/hearing officer has the discretion on whether or not to adopt the proposed clarificatory questions.

If in the course of investigation/hearing other than by en banc, circumstances warrants the granting of immunity from criminal prosecution or to cite a person in contempt of the Commission as provided under subparagraphs c and d of Section 2, the hearing officer shall make the proper recommendation to the Commission.

SECTION 11. Order of Hearing.

At the hearing, the following order will be observed:

a. The complainant and/or those of his witnesses whom the Commission may wish to examine further shall first be called to the witness stand and, after being sworn, shall then be asked to affirm his/their affidavits/sworn statements. After the clarificatory questioning, the complainant may offer, orally or in writing, his documentary evidence or exhibits.

b. The respondent and/or those of his witnesses whom the Commission may wish to examine will be called to the stand, and the same procedure as in the immediately-preceding paragraph shall be observed.

c. Upon conclusion of the examination, the Commission may allow or require the parties to submit their respective memoranda in support of their positions. SDHTEC

SECTION 12. Disposition of the Complainant.

Upon submission of the evidence, the Commission shall proceed to determine whether or not sufficient ground exists to engender a well-founded belief that the act complained of constitutes a violation of human rights and that the respondent is probably responsible therefor.

a. Upon a finding that the act complained of does not constitute a human rights violation, the case shall be dismissed and the parties notified of such dismissal. However, if a criminal offense has been committed, the case shall be forwarded to the City or Provincial Prosecutor. If the act complained of is actionable, a recommendation to that effect may be made and indigent complainants may be endorsed to the Citizens Legal Aid Office or the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

b. If the act is a violation of human rights, the Commission or any of its hearing division/officer shall pass a resolution to that effect and forward the case and its entire record to the proper forum (i.e., the JAGO, the NAPOLCOM, the City/Provincial Fiscal and/or other agency) for appropriate action. Furthermore, the Commission or any of its hearing division/officer may adopt such resolutions and/or take such other actions as may be proper and necessary under the circumstances.

The Commission shall, within three (3) days from date of issuance, be furnished with copies of all resolutions and orders, otherwise issued en banc, disposing off the case.

SECTION 13. Adjournments and Postponements.

The hearing may be adjourned or postponed from day to day, and to any stated time, as the expeditious hearing of the case may require: provided, however, that an adjournment or postponement for a period longer than fifteen (15) days from its adjournment may be granted only upon the approval of the Commission.

SECTION 14. Transcripts.

At the end of the hearing, the stenographer shall immediately transcribe all the notes taken thereat and deliver said notes/tapes, as well as the certified transcription thereof, to the Clerk or Deputy Clerk of the Commission, to be attached to the records of the case. Any interested party may secure the transcript of the stenographic notes taken at the hearing of his case by paying the stenographer concerned such fee per each typewritten page thereof as may be fixed by the Commission; provided that, upon written request, an indigent or low income litigant, upon sufficient proof of such status, shall be furnished a free certified copy of the transcript. DHEcCT

SECTION 15. Final Order.

The Commission, its division, Regional Directors or duly authorized legal officers, shall resolve any case heard by it within twenty (20) days after the parties shall have concluded presentation of their respective evidence or submission of memoranda.

The Commission en banc may motu proprio or an appeal review, revise, modify, amend or reverse according to evidence and the law any order and resolution issued by any of its investigating offices.

SECTION 16. Appeals.

Within fifteen (15) days from service of notice, either party to a case may appeal from the final resolution or order issued by any division, regional director, legal officer or investigating committee, to the Commission by filing a notice of appeal and appeal brief with the investigating office which issued the resolution/order, copy furnished the appellee.

a. Interruption of time to appeal The time during which a motion for reconsideration of the resolution or order has been pending shall interrupt the period for taking appeal.

b. Effect of Appeal The appeal shall not bar the Commission or its investigating office from filing the case with the proper forum to avert prescription of the crime. In such a case, the appeal briefs shall be transmitted to the forum where the case has been forwarded to form part of its records.

SECTION 17. Public Access to Records.

The records of proceedings before the Commission under these rules shall be open to the public for inspection during regular office hours. The Commission, however, shall have the power to exclude particular record or records from the public which, in its judgment, are of such a confidential character that their revelation would be prejudicial to any party to the case or to the safety of any party or witness.

SECTION 18. Powers and Duties of the Clerk of the Commission.

The Clerk of the Commission shall have the following powers and duties:

a. To receive all complaints, pleadings or documents authorized or required to be filed with the Commission in connection with any matter pending before it and to stamp the date and hour of the filing thereof;

b. To keep such book or books as may be necessary for recording all the proceedings of the Commission and its orders and resolutions;

c. To keep a complete record of all the complaints/cases including such findings, orders and resolutions of the Commission issued in cases pending before it;

d. To administer oaths in all matters pending before the Commission;

e. To prepare the Commission's calendar of case, and to notify the parties, and witnesses and counsel of the hearing accordingly;

f. To furnish, without unnecessary delay, to the parties or agencies concerned, copies of orders, resolutions and decisions of the Commission; and

g. To cause the service of subpoenas and other process of the Commission upon the parties concerned without unnecessary delay. SHCaEA

SECTION 19. Deputy Clerk.

There shall be Deputy Clerks of the Commission to be designated by the Commission and who shall discharge such duties as may be assigned to them by the Commission.

SECTION 20. Applicability of the Rules of Court.

In all matters of procedure not covered by the foregoing rules, the provisions of the Revised Rules of Court shall apply in a suppletory character.

Done this 19th day of July 1989 in the Municipality of Pasig, Metro Manila.

Commission on Human Rights

Commission on Human Rights

Commission on Human Rights

Commission on Human Rights

Commission on Human Rights


Commission Secretary
Commission on Human Rights