Etta Rosales

Loretta Ann P. "Etta" Rosales (born 1938) is a Filipina activist, teacher and politician who has served three terms as the party-list representative of the Akbayan Citizens' Action Party to the Philippines' House of Representatives from the 11th-14th Congress (1998-2007). She was the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Republic of the Philippines from 2010 to 2015.[1]

Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
In office
1 September 2010 – 5 May 2015[1]
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives for Akbayan Partylist
In office
30 June 1998 – 30 June 2007
Personal details
Philippine Commonwealth
Political partyAkbayan Citizens' Action Party, Liberal Party
Other political
Alliance of Concerned Teacher (ACT Teachers) (before 1998)

She is a well-known defender of human rights and was instrumental in instituting a class action suit in the Hawaii District Court which resulted in the only judgment holding the former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos liable for gross human rights violations committed during his incumbency, which judgment was partially executed in 2011.[2] She herself is a victim of human rights violations by the Marcos regime.[3]

As an activist, she founded the leftist and now party-list Alliance of Concerned Teacher (ACT).[4] She was also the chairperson of Partido ng Bayan.[5] She joined Akbayan in 1998, formed the Akbayan Citizens' Action Party, better known as Akbayan. She was elected as a congresswoman for that party list from 1998 to 2007.[4]

After serving in Congress for three terms, she served as Co-Chairperson of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court and founded Building Bridges for Peace, a multi-sectoral initiative to secure land rights and security for agrarian reform and indigenous communities through dialogue.[citation needed]

In 2010, she was the possible choice of President Benigno S. Aquino III to head the country's Commission on Human Rights as a replacement to Leila de Lima, who became the Justice Secretary of the country.[6] Many left-wing organizations, such as Karapatan and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) (a group she was formerly aligned with), protested her appointment, stating that she was unfit for the position.[7]

Rosales is a known critic of the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and has often led her party list in protests in opposition to it. Risa Hontiveros, a colleague in Akbayan, welcomed her appointment.[8] She was appointed Commission on Human Rights Chairperson on September 1, 2010.[9] As CHR Chairperson, she also served as Chairperson of the Southeast Asia National Human Rights Institutions Forum, the regional network of national human rights institutions in ASEAN.[citation needed]

In November 2017, the Germany-based Progressive Alliance cited Rosales for her contribution to human rights in the Philippines and for political courage. She was the first recipient of the award.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Etta Rosales quietly leaves Commission on Human Rights". 26 May 2015.
  2. ^ Militant groups dispute Rosales' nomination as CHR chief. GMA News. 07/15/2010.
  3. ^ KMU to Hontiveros: Etta seriously flawed choice for CHR. Bulatlat. July 13, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Jimenez-David, Rina. Welcome to the family Archived 2010-07-21 at the Wayback Machine. Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 July 2010.
  5. ^ Abinales, Patricio N. The revolution falters: the left in Philippine politics after 1986. Southeast Asia program series, 15. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ, 1996. p. 98
  6. ^ Party-lists wary of Etta as head of CHR. Manila Bulletin, 15 July 2010.
  7. ^ Rights group rejects Rosales as CHR chair. ABS-CBN News. 07/08/2010.
  8. ^ Etta Rosales 'perfect' as CHR chief, says Hontiveros. GMA News. Etta Rosales 'perfect' as CHR chief, says Hontiveros.
  9. ^ "Etta Rosales quietly leaves Commission on Human Rights". Inquirer. 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2022-08-03.
  10. ^ Cupin, Bea. "Ex-CHR head gets int'l award for political courage". Rappler. Retrieved 17 July 2019.