A former staff of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against a human rights commissioner for alleged acts of abuse, corruption and unethical conduct.
Ma. Regina Eugenio, a former administrative aide and private secretary of commissioner Cecilia R.V. Quisumbing, told reporters on Thursday that she was maltreated and abused by the commissioner during the five years that she worked for the CHR.
In a 25-page sworn affidavit filed at the Office of the Ombudsman dated September 25, Eugenio said: “For someone who should be leading and defending our human rights, with her attitude and actions, Cecilia Rachel Quisumbing does not deserve to be a commissioner on Human Rights.”
Eugenio said Quisumbing would get flare up whenever she was addressed incorrectly or if she felt her authority had been questioned.
She said Quisumbing would scream at her for her mistakes until she cried. She said the commissioner quickly changed her mood afterwards as if the abuses did not occur.
“I endured all the hardships from Comm. Coco, all the insults, the human rights abuse, up to the point that I pitied myself),” Eugenio said in her affidavit, written in Filipino.
“Why, am I unintelligent? Why this is all I can achieve? Comm. Coco said it was true that this is all that the uneducated can achieve,” she added.
Eugenio said Quisumbing also maltreated her drivers. She described how the commissioner once sent her driver from her townhouse to the CHR office without slippers as punishment.
She said the driver cried as he described the incident.
The former staffer said Quisumbing would also train her through role playing and act out scripts to correct her manners.
She listed several “correct” responses in addressing the commissioner to avoid her outbursts. The responses that demanded the answer “kayo po” were whether who was the most intelligent and hardworking in CHR, who signs her Daily Time Record (DTR), and who doesn’t make mistakes in CHR.
The answers that demanded the response “hindi po” asked whether the other commissioners where either good at work, in computers or whether they are able to talk to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“I endured all of the hardships because I needed a job so I can give a better life to my child,” she said
Eugenio explained that Quisumbing had the habit of taking the ATM cards of her private secretaries, some of which were the commissioner’s relatives.
She said this was the deal with the commissioner in exchange for the position as her private secretary. She said the Quisumbing allegedly controlled the secretaries’ low pay despite their medical and daily needs.
She explained how the commissioner offered her a promotion from administrative aide to private secretary. She said Quisumbing told her she would be promoted but would retain her work as an aide. She said the deal was that her salary increase of P6,000 would be added to the “CRVQ” fund, which was the commissioner’s initials.
“What I did was take P4,000+ and the P3,000 left is for the CRVQ fund. So every month, I give P6,000 to Comm. Coco where she takes it and signs it,” she said.
Eugenio said she resigned last July because the commissioner was allegedly planning to pin her down to the missing funds in the commission’s budget. She said Quisumbing was trying to block her irrevocable resignation because of the missing funds.
The missing fund was Quisumbing’s unliquidated cash advances amounting to P7 million.
The advances were issued by the Office of the President (OP) in her position as the Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC).
In her letter to the Commission on Audit dated July 10, she said that she has submitted several folders to the Finance Office but other documents had been misplaced by her former assistants.
Quisumbing proposed to shoulder the pay for the unliquidated expenses “by offsetting the amounts withheld by the O.P. and the Commission on Human Rights.”
She said that CHR has withheld her salaries and benefits since her appointment in May 2008. She added that she will pay the remaining amounts in cash if the amounts withheld by the OP and CHR were insufficient to cover the unliquidated cash advances.
Commission on Audit supervising auditor Chito C. Janaban replied through a letter dated July 16 that her proposal to settle the unliquidated cash advances through compensation “constrains us to render a negative opinion on the matter.”
Janaban said the liquidation of the cash advances were long overdue and demandable since the purposes had already been finished.
“Failure of an accountable officer to liquidate his outstanding cash advance on or before January 21, 2013 shall constitute a cause for the filing of malversation charge under Article 127,” the COA letter said.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) condemned the alleged human rights abuses ins the commission. PAHRA Chairman Max de Mesa asked President Aquino to thoroughly screen the next batch of human rights commissioners in 2015.
“The present situation is unacceptable and must not be tolerated any further,” De Mesa said.
A staff at the CHR-NCR said Chairman Loretta Ann Rosales knew what was going on and was doing something about it.