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Senators oppose P1,000 CHR budget, guarantee to fight for higher budget

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) got lawmakers’ support from Senate after House of Representative on Tuesday voted for P1,000 budget for 2018.

Most senators opposed on House’s decision, with 119 lawmakers who approved to give P1,000 budget for 2018 from P677 million budget.

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said that he will fight to restore CHR budget.

“The CHR is a constitutional imperative and a necessity, however inconvenient it may be for some… I will fight to restore its budget!” he stated on his Twitter account.

 


Senator Bam Aquino stated that during numerous deaths and reports of police abuses, CHR needs to do its job.

“With the numerous deaths and reports of police abuses, we need the CHR to do its duty as mandated by the Constitution.”

 


Senator JV Ejercito also showed support, stating that CHR functions as a guardian against abuse of those in authority.

“CHR is a necessity, the Constitution mandates it. Functions as a guardian against abuse of those in authority.”

 


For Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson as the vice chairman of the Finance committee, he will also accept the challenge of fighting for CHR budget.

“I happen to be the sponsor of the CHR budget in the Senate, along with a few other agencies like the DND (Department of National Defense), ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), etc. I accept the challenge,” Lacson said in a Twitter post late Tuesday.

 


He also questioned House’s version of 2018 budget, after Senate Finance Committee approved P678 million CHR budget for 2018, which includes a P28.565 million budget for the Human Rights Violations Victim’s Memorial Commission.

Furthermore, Senator Sonny Angara recalled that CHR discovered the hidden cell in station 1 of the Manila Police District in April.

“Recall that was d (the) CHR which discovered the hidden cell in a city jail w/ (with) women and children unaccounted for. That act alone justifies more.”

 


Hidden cell imprisoned people waiting for ransom to be released.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan criticized the P1,000 CHR budget, saying it is “kalokohan” and this is a preview of dictatorship if charter change will push through.

“Hindi kami papayag sa Senado sa inaprubahan ng House na P1000 budget para sa CHR. Tututulan namin nang maigi ang pag-apruba nito sa Senado kahit pa hindi maipasa ang 2018 budget at ma re-enact and 2017 budget. Kalokohan ito. Ngayon alam na natin ano ang mangyayari sa bansa natin kapag nag cha-cha at itulak ang voting jointly na tig-isang boto lang ang mga Senador at Kongresista. Derecho (Diretso) na tayo sa diktadura.”

 

Senator Ralph Recto assured that the Senate will restore CHR budget as it might need more resources considering the number of extrajudicial killings.

“The CHR is a constitutional body mandated by the constitution to protect our human rights. It may even need more resources considering the number of extrajudicial killings,” Recto said in a text message on Wednesday.

Senator Win Gatchalian also pledged to fight for the budget, pointing out that CHR is a constitutionally-mandated body.

“This would effectively abolish the CHR, at least for the coming fiscal year, in clear contravention of the constitutional provision mandating the establishment of this independent office,” according to his statement on Wednesday.

“Moreover, the Commission serves as an important check and balance to ensure that government officials exercise their functions with due respect for the constitutional rights of the people. The Senate should make sure the CHR receives the budget it needs to fulfill its constitutionally mandated functions next year,” he added.

Senator Joel Villanueva emphasized that the CHR has constitutional duty to protect people against abuses.

“You may not agree all the time with what CHR is doing since time immemorial but they have constitutional duty to protect our people against abuses,” Villanueva said on Twitter.

 


On Tuesday, 119 members of House of Representative voted to give P1,000 budget for CHR in 2018.

However, despite the P1,000 budget, CHR will continue to believe in “the concern for human rights is beyond partisanship or disagreement.” | Angelica Bobiles – PTV

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