Be it clear to every Filipino.
1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Article XIII Social Justice and Human Rights
Section 17. (1) There is hereby created an independent office called the Commission on Human Rights.
(4) The approved annual appropriations of the Commission shall be automatically and regularly released.
Section 18. The Commission on Human Rights shall have the following powers and functions:
(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights;
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection;
(7) Monitor the Philippine Government’s compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights;
Okay, that has already taken up so much space on the column. I had to cut the rest.
“The CHR deserved a low budget for being a “useless” body and defending criminals’ rights, house speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, said in a television interview.” (https://www.reuters.com) Are not criminals included in “all persons in the Philippines”?. Whatever happened to presumption of innocence before being proven guilty in the court of law?
“1-Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta moved for the P1,000 budget due to the what he said was the failure of the CHR to investigate rights violations by terrorists. He also added that the CHR was not a valid agency having been created by an executive order issued by President Cory Aquino in 1986 during the revolutionary government when there was no Congress.” (newsinfo.inquirer.net) Isn’t the Philippine Constitution a required learning course for college students in the Philippines? Okay, maybe he didn’t make it as far as Article 13. I don’t want to use the term, “ignorance.” But what else do you call a display of utter lack of knowledge which is supposedly basic for a supposed lawmaker?
“Pangasinan 2nd District Representative Leopoldo Bataoil said that it was his “experience, belief and observation that the CHR is more inclined to persecute those in the service. When our soldiers and policemen were mutilated no one among the CHR stood up to investigate the enemies of the state.” In the event of a mutilation of a military or police officer most probably by encounter with insurgents or organized criminals, are human rights commissioners expected to join in the hot pursuit operations and police raids, or meddle in military intelligence and police operations against armed bandits and crooks? CHR would not investigate those because some agency is already doing those. Besides, how could investigation be carried out on persons being pursued?
If indeed the commission is found to be not performing as it should, don’t they usually call for a Congressional or Senate inquiry for supposed aid in legislation, to rectify oversights or mismanagement? If the proponents of the budget cut intend for better performance, how could they get that with a budget cut which is actually a death sentence. Yes, let’s close the agency so it could perform better.
Preposterous as all these may come upon Filipino society. It’s not really going to happen. “Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said that he doubts the House’s final version of the 2018 budget would only leave P1,000 for the CHR. “They will most likely be restored. These are vital institutions, Small committees will be tasked to reconcile amendments to the proposed measure before it is up for 3rd and final reading.” (https://www.rappler.com ) (Sabi ngani kayan, “Pasali sana”.) It’s not going to happen. The 1,000 peso budget is tantamount to abolishing or at least temporarily closing an agency, which would realistically and legally require constitutional amendments which would in turn require a constitutional convention which they’ve been trying to push through and never have gotten to since the time of former President Fidel Ramos. Heck, I was in high school then. Now, I’ve taught high school and they still haven’t gotten to it.
However, this is a violent throwing and smudging of blood against the panorama of Filipino society. Against the backdrop of teenage boys being blatantly butchered here and there, representatives of the Filipino people spat on the face and aggressively wanted to flush down the drain Filipino human rights; and all these transpire as we move towards remembering Proclamation 1081 this week.
“Aside from the CHR, the House also approved a 1,000 peso budget for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, who moved for the 1,000 peso budget, cited the alleged failure of the NCIP to defend the rights of national minorities.” (www.mindanews.com) See a pattern? They want to kill off human rights and the underprivileged people?
“not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”