Umali: CHR budget slash part of House oversight power

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2017 08:24 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives was only exercising oversight in approving a P1,000 proposed budget for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) next year, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chair of the House Committee on Justice, said the decision was based on the "appreciation of the members on the performance of the CHR."

The revised proposal cut the original P623.38-million allocation for the commission. 

"This is the collective decision of the members who wanted some reforms in the Commission on Human Rights and, of course, Congress has a separate mandate to do that... it’s unfortunate that these things are not happening," he told ANC.

"We have oversight powers, but then of course these oversight powers [are] really meant or is really carried out through the power of the purse, and this is a manifestation or expression of powers performed by Congress as an institution," he said.

Umali said 1SAGIP Rep. Rodante Marcoleta pointed out that the agency "was not being fair because, on the one hand, it was too fast to act on certain violations, but [on the other hand], it failed to act on certain violations also that pertain to government."

"I guess it has something to do, yes, with the performance of the leaders of the CHR," said Umali.

The chamber's proposed appropriation, which drew uproar on social media, will next undergo deliberations at the Senate and the bicameral conference committee. 

Senators have vowed to fight for the restoration of the commission's budget. 

The CHR is a constitutional body primarily tasked to investigate human rights abuses attributed to police, military and other state agents.