CHR should investigate rebels for 'abuse of power': lawmaker

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2017 11:03 AM

The Commission on Human Rights should also investigate communist rebels who abuse their power and spread terror in the countryside, a party-list lawmaker said Tuesday.

ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera said the CHR should not only look at government officials when they monitor abuse of power because even private people or rebels especially in the rural areas can commit abuse of power given their position in the society.

"I know that the ones who can perpetuate [abuses] are those in power. But not only the people in the government are in power. Some private people are also in power. The rebels are in power in their respective areas," De Vera explained.

"[CHR] should investigate them because sometimes they are also terrorizing on the countryside," he added. 

De Vera, who voted for a P1,000 budget for the rights body, said CHR should also investigate crimes of a "different magnitude" even though this is the job of the police. These include incidents of torture as well as the massacre of a family in Bulacan, he said. 

In these cases, De Vera explained, the human rights commission should conduct a parallel investigation with the police as part of their Constitutional mandate to look into "all forms of human rights violations." 
The CHR has been explaining that its mandate is to help victims of government abuses, not the victims of ordinary and individual crimes, which is the job of the law enforcers. 

"We are, in simple terms, like a conscience of the government. We are mandated to actually monitor any abuses done by what we call duty-bearers, and government is a duty-bearer," Commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana said.