THE Commission on Human Rights is a constitutional body that Congress has no power to abolish.
Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. yesterday said this in reaction to the House of Representatives’ 119-32 vote Tuesday to give only a P1-thousand budget to the rights monitor for 2018.
Granting a measly budget to an office effectively renders its useless, he said.
The CHR proposed a budget of P623.38 million for 2018. Two other government offices were also given the same P1-thousand budget by the House: the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and Energy Regulatory Commission.
Pimentel noted that the decision of the House to provide only a thousand pesos for a government agency “amounts to a self-inflicted censure of the way some government bodies are being run.”
But “those haughtily preposterous and unilaterally imposed inane ‘sanctions’ may still be remedied not only by the President, but also by the Senate Committee on the Budget,” and “naturally, by the people, themselves, speaking out against those spiteful reactions that are most likely borne out of anger, that has no place in settling intra civil disagreements between or among government agencies which are all mandated to serve the wellbeing of the people.”
Of the 32 who voted against the CHR budget, eight are from Mindanao: Arlene Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Lawrence Fortun of the 1st district Agusand del Norte, Evelyn Plaza Mellana of the 2nd District of Agusan del Sur, Sandra Sema of the 1st District of Maguindanao, Tom Villarin of Akbayan, Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna, and Manuel Zubiri of the 3rd district of Bukidnon. (carolyn arguillas)