MANILA— The House of Representatives has decided to restore the proposed 2018 budgets of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Rep. Karlo Nograles, House Appropriations Committee chair, in a statement Wednesday, said this development unfolded after CHR Chair Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon, ERC Commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana and NCIP Chair Leonor Oralde-Quintayo sought the help of House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to “act as bridge” between them and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Nograles said Gascon has agreed to extend their investigations beyond human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by state agents to also include other groups who victimize members of the police, the military, and even civilians.
“The Speaker basically told Chairman Gascon that we are not the enemy. The Duterte government is not the enemy. We are one with the CHR in the fight against all forms of human rights violation but they must start looking also at the violations committed by criminals and insurgents,” Nograles said.
Meanwhile, the ERC and the NCIP gave their assurance to the House leaders that they would start taking all the necessary steps to fight graft and corruption and to fulfill the mandate of their respective offices.
“The dialogue was very frank but cordial. In the end, the Speaker was magnanimous in his decision and gave the green light to restoring their budget,” Nograles said.
The restoration of the budget for the three agencies would be reflected in the final version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for third reading approval.
The House earlier reduced the budget of the three agencies to just PHP1,000 each as lawmakers expressed their displeasure over the offices’ performance.