MANILA, Aug. 8 — A Partylist lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to be non-discriminating in pursuing human rights cases, just a day after the agency got slammed by lawmakers for being “biased” against the State.
PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles said CHR should fully fulfill its mandate as the protector of the people’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights if it wants to win the people’s trust.
“The CHR is rapidly losing public support and there is now a growing clamor for its abolition because of its perceived misplaced focus on alleged human rights violations committed by government authorities while turning a blind eye on atrocities committed by criminals and insurgents,” he said.
“Being the son of a human rights lawyer, I feel really sad that the CHR is now being regarded as a protector of criminals and insurgents because of their unusual interest in pursuing only cases allegedly committed by security forces,” Nograles said.
Last Monday, CHR Chair Jose Luis Gascon got a mouthful from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez during his presentation of the agency’s proposed PHP651.9 million budget for 2018.
Alvarez even threatened to drastically cut the agency budget because of CHR’s alleged failure to look into human rights violations perpetrated by criminals and rebel groups.
Nograles said that as things are looking now, the CHR is perceived to have become the “defender” of lawless elements and the persecutor of law enforcers.
“The embodiment of true justice is Lady Justice. She is blind-folded precisely because justice knows no color, language, political persuasion and status in life. She delivers justice based on facts and evidence regardless of who you are and what you are. The CHR should do the same,” he said.
“Prove the perception wrong and you will win the people’s trust again,” Nograles said.