'CHR didn't defend OFWs, sue embassies': Minority solons defend 'yes' vote

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2017 03:55 PM

MANILA - Three minority lawmakers denied that there was "bloc voting" in favor of slashing the Commission on Human Rights' (CHR) budget to P1,000.

ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera, one of the 119 lawmakers who voted for the budget cut, said some minority leaders voted no. He said they have reviewed CHR's performance and found the agency underperforming, missing out on some big human rights issues. 

"Naaalala niyo ba 'yung laglag-bala kay Nanay Gloria? Nangialam ba diyan ang CHR? Hindi. Ang nakialam lang diyan si Atty. Spocky Farolan," he said. 

Gloria Ortinez lost her job in Hong Kong after she was charged for allegedly carrying a bullet inside her luggage last October 25, 2015. 

Two airport policemen, PO3 Careen de Padua and PO1 Rommel Ballesteros, were removed from their posts after the bullet they submitted to the fiscal's office was different from the one allegedly found in Ortinez's bag.

Meanwhile, ACTS OFW Party-list Rep. Aniceto John Bertiz said the CHR has not been felt by Filipinos working overseas, especially those abused by their employers. 

"Mas malaki po na dapat na pinaglalaban ng CHR lalong lalo na po yung naaping OFW na bakit hindi nila sampahan ng kaso ang mga embahada," he said. 

For his part, Cooperative NATCCO Party-list Rep. Anthony Bravo clarified that the P1,000 budget they allotted for the CHR is not equivalent to the worth of each Filipino's human rights.

"Klaruhin natin. Di po 'yun (P1,000) ang value ng human rights. Ito po ay isang mensahe sa CHR at iba pang agency na gampanan mo nang tunay ang inyong mandato. At kung di mo po gagampanan ang mandato, mawawala po ang budget mo," he said.

The CHR earlier explained that their mandate is to help victims of government abuses, and not the victims of ordinary and individual crimes, which is the job of the police. 

The commission created by the 1987 Constitution also has no power to prosecute and it can only investigate and make recommendations on the cases it handle.