MANILA –The House of Representatives may reconsider the PHP1,000 budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for next year if the rights body does its job and is able to justify its programs especially for innocent victims of various crimes, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Friday.
In a press conference in Makati City, Alvarez explained that the main reason behind the measly PHP1,000 allocation for the CHR was due to its failure to perform its mandate to protect the human rights of all Filipinos.
Alvarez accused the agency of being “selective” as it focused on protecting the human rights of criminals rather than the rights of innocent victims.
When asked if there is any way to grant a bigger budget for CHR, Alvarez said the agency must present programs that are aligned with its constitutional mandate and will justify the allocation of appropriate funds.
“Simple lang, gawin nila yung trabaho nila at i-justify kung anong programa nila para doon sa mga innocent victims,” Alvarez said.
(That’s simple, they just have to do their job and justify what their programs are for innocent victims.)
“Ang pagbabalik ng budget ng CHR ay magdedepende yan dun sa ibibigay nila sa ‘min na mga programa. Ano ba ang programa niyo para magampanan niyo ang tungkulin niyo base sa mandato niyo sa Saligang Batas,” he added.
(Restoring the CHR budget depends on the programs that they will be submitting to us. What are your programs for you to fulfill your duties based on your mandate under the Constitution?)
For his part, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas urged the agency to “readjust their focus and live up to their constitutional mandate.”
Under the Constitution, the CHR has the power to “investigate, on its own or on the complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.”
It is also mandated to “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.”
On Tuesday, 119 House members stood in favor of 1-Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta’s motion to slash CHR’s budget to just PHP1,000 from the original PHP678-million proposal, while 32 lawmakers voted against it.