The proposed CHR budget of PhP 623.38 million for 2018 was arbitrarily trimmed downed into PhP 1,000 by the 119 – 32 votes.
They wanted the Commision on Human Rights Commissioner Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon’s resignation – in exchange of the budget restoration.
Their reasons, it favored the outlaws and he belongs to the “yellow”. A former police general who is now a congressman, blamed Gascon on the carnage in the cornfields of Mamasapano.
The Tuesday vote went partisan instead of displaying impartiality on CHR’s mandate to the pursuit of it’s constitutional mandate to protect and promote human rights, not on the sitting Commissioner.
The issue of social justice and human rights is not a partisan question. As a independent guardian safeguarding human life, health and dignity, under a repressive government, the agency deserve a realistic budget to perform it’s functions as human rights watchdog.
If it raises a question on the conduct of a bloody war on drugs under the present dispensation, let it be because it’s their job.
The CHR was crafted by the framers of the 1987 constitution as a guarantee that no human rights abuse will be committed again, under despotic rule – particularly by state sponsored repression against unarmed and innocent civilians.
The brazen “Wake up Call” phrase uttered by Ako- Bicol Representative Christopher S. Co justifying the trimming down the budget is diametrically opposed to the stand of his fellow Ako- Bicol Representative – Atty. Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr.
Co was absent during the voting as he was in China while Congressman Garbin did not cast his vote as the majority did, because his conscience told him to remain silent.
This is a portentous foreboding for the country that the power of the purse was wielded by the 119 members in a very whimsical way. They don’t only used their power of the purse – but they used the power of the sword figuratively to shame the CHR..
It’s dispressing that the CHR’s constitutional mandate to promote and defend human rights was never understood by Filipinos and their elected representatives, particularly the House of Representatives.
The 119 votes simply reflected the souls of the majority in the 17th Congress on their compartmentalized views on the handling of the war on drugs and the human rights in the country.
Let the thinking Filipinos discern how far the 17th Congress has gone in exercising their power to appropriate public funds.