MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday accused the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) of protecting only the human rights of criminals and doing nothing for their victims.
He said the agency should have a zero budget.
Addressing the media after the CHR’s budget hearing, Alvarez was asked if he will oppose the augmentation of the CHR’s budget being sought by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
Alvarez said, “itong ating Commission on Human Rights ay ang pino-focus lang ay yung mga karapatan ng criminal at tipong wala silang pakialam dun sa karapatan nung mga biktima nitong mga criminal na ito. Madalas kong maobserbahan ito, at matagal ko nang inoobserbahan ito na tuwing merong mga massacre na ginagawa itong mga criminals, itong mga drug addicts eh tahimik sila. Parang pasko sa kanila yun—yung 'Silent Night'—walang comment.“
He added, “Ngayon pag meron namang halimbawa, may mga insidente na may namatay at meron silang pagdududa na eto ay extra-judicial killing na ginawa nung ating mga kapulisan ay talagang maingay sila. Eh bakit naman ganun? Akala ko ba yung human rights ay para sa lahat. Ay, bakit namimili sila ng pinoprotektahan at inaalagaan na karapatan.”
The CHR, a constitutional body, is mandated to conduct investigations on human rights violations against marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the society, involving civil and political rights.
In a series of Facebook posts, the CHR explained that victims of human rights abuses committed by government can seek the agency's help. Meanwhile, victims of ordinary crimes committed by civilians can go to the police or other law-enforcement agencies, the CHR added.
Alvarez claimed that the CHR has been remiss in looking after the human rights of the victims of crimes and said the agency should not get any funding.
"Kung ako ang tatanungin ninyo eh, zero---pag ganyan ang performance. Eh bakit? Hindi natin ia-abolish kasi constitutional budget eh di wag mong bigyan ng budget iyan," he said.
He also said the CHR chairman may be impeached if he is not performing his task. “Titingnan natin. Titingnan natin. 'Pag me violation naman tingnan natin yung hanggang doon sa hindi tayo magba-violate. Pwede, betrayal of public trust 'to. “
Alvarez, however, said he would not initiate the filing of an impeachment complaint.
The CHR originally proposed a budget of P1.6-billion but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only submitted over a P651-million budgetr for the agency to Congress.
The CHR, in a statement, earlier said it is independent and non-partisan, as established by the Constitution.
"We shall continue to ask and secure the cooperation and assistance of government bodies and other authorities as it is a collective obligation of the entire State as principal duty-bearer to respect and fulfill all human rights. To this end, we shall continue to be unafraid in speaking truth to power and in demanding an end to impunity by steadfastly asking for justice and accountability," the CHR said.
"We must stand up in favor of protecting all those who are weak, vulnerable, oppressed, and persecuted in society," it added.
"The CHR—its Commissioners and staff—will guard its independence in the performance of its mandate. We have and will always abide by the fundamental precepts enshrined in the Constitution. We shall, at all times, adhere to the rule of law even as we ask all other public officers to also do the same, particularly by respecting the systems of checks and balances and separation of powers, as well as established constitutional reform processes," the CHR said. - with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News