Defense chief rallies behind CHR, highlights agency's role

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2017 04:53 PM

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday highlighted the importance of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), saying the agency is vital in ensuring checks and balances in the government.

Lorenzana said the CHR, as a constitutional body, should not be abolished, at least for now. This comes as the the House of Representatives recently voted to slash the CHR budget to only P1,000.

"Not immediately [abolish] siguro kasi kailangan pa kasi natin sila ngayon," he told reporters.

The CHR, which has been critical of the administration's war on drugs, had an original budget proposal of P623.38 million.

Lorenzana said the military enjoys good ties with the CHR which he also credited for acting as the watchdog of soldiers and police.

“It is a constitutional body eh na andyan. Ginawa ng batas yan. Nasa Consti[tution] pa yan diba? The order cannot be removed," he said.

"Yung head nga hindi mo pwedeng tanggalin with impeachment eh. Dahil andyan yan I think it is just right that it should be funded,” he added.

Lorenzana even boasted that because of the CHR, every unit in the military now has human rights officers to educate soldiers on the importance of basic rights.

The military has been prone to allegations of human rights abuses. Recently, soldiers have been accused of violating human rights in the ongoing siege in Marawi City. 

Military chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año however had repeatedly stressed that the military is open to probe allegations of abuses within its ranks and that he will not allow any kind of abuse specially under the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.