MANILA- Besieged by fresh attacks from President Rodrigo Duterte, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) warned Wednesday that its abolition would trigger a "deafening" silence that could lead to a monopoly of power in the executive branch.
"The silence will be very deafening. Wala na po tayong maririnig na batikos. There will be a concentration of power in only one branch of government," CHR spokesperson Jackie De Guia told ABS-CBN News.
"Wala pong mapupuntahan ang mga tao, wala pong maaasahang konsensya ang publiko. Wala pong magsisilbing monitor at watchdog," she added.
Duterte has long been at loggerheads with the CHR, which is investigating alleged extrajudicial killings under his crackdown on narcotics. Government has many times asserted that reported executions are not state-sanctioned.
In a press conference after his second State of the Nation Address on Monday, the President said he would not allow his men to be probed by the CHR and even suggested that the constitutional body be abolished.
De Guia maintained that the Constitution mandated the CHR to investigate alleged government abuses to prevent a repeat of rights violations committed under the regime of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
It is ironic, she said, that calls to abolish CHR are gaining ground amid Duterte's own martial rule in Mindanao, which he had declared to quell the rampage of Islamic-State linked terrorists in Marawi City.
"It is now, more than ever, that people must stand to be vigilant against threats to demolish democratic institutions and constitutional safeguards against martial law," she said.