Wednesday 13 September 2017

CHR next battle ground for budget : Senate

The historic vote in reducing  the annual budget of the Commission on Human Rights in the House of Representatives is not yet over.

On the motion of SAGIP party-list Rodante Marcoleta, a member of the supermajority to reduce the budget of CHR to P1,000- 119 lawmakers voted in favor . Only 32 legislators voted against the motion.
Senate of the Philippines (photo credit to the owner)

The vote in the House of Representatives will not be final since the national budget will still go scrutiny and further deliberations in the Senate.  If both versions are different, all of which will be ironed out through a bicameral conference*

Liberal Party Senators  Bam Aquino and Francis Pangilinan vowed to restore if not augment, the CHR’s annual budget for 2018 stating that the commission is a “necessity.”

Pangilinan who is the current president of the once mighty Liberal Party, said they will not allow CHR’s budget to suffer the same fate in Senate.

"Tututulan namin nang maigi ang pag-apruba nito sa Senado kahit hindi maipasa ang 2018 budget at ma re-enact ang 2017 budget," he said. "Kalokohan ito."

Chito Gascon, is known to be a high ranking official of the Liberal party, prior to President Noynoy Aquino’s appointment of him to chair the CHR.

"With the numerous deaths and reports of police abuses, we need the Commission on Human Rights to do its duty as mandated by the Constitution," Aquino, a member of the Senate minority bloc, said.

Senator Francis Escudero also made a comment regarding the reduction of the budget of CHR via twitter:  "The CHR is a constitutional imperative and a necessity, however inconvenient it may be for some... I will fight to restore its budget!"  Escudero is aligned with the supwermajority bloc in the senate.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also took via Twitter to say his piece regarding this issue : “I happen to be the sponsor of the CHR budget in the Senate, along with a few other agencies like the DND, ARMM, etc. I accept the challenge.” *

Sen. JV Ejercito, a member of the Senate supermajority and who has been critical of the CHR in the past, said on his Twitter account that: "CHR is a necessity, the Constitution mandates it. Functions as a guardian against abuse of those in authority."

CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said the commission will continue to fight for a decent budget as the deliberations move to the Senate.

“Despite these circumstances, we will not turn our backs on our Constitutional duty to render justice for all and give everyone their due. The concern for human rights is beyond partisanship or disagreement,” Gascon said in a statement.
He added: “We shall seek means to move forward and navigate through the hurdles mindful of our oath to serve the people and the Republic—because it is what is right and what is needed of the times.”
President Duterte repeatedly threatened to abolish CHR , which has been very critical of the killings associated with his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs .
 Report from PhilStar
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