Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday vowed to give the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a budget of only P1,000 for next year and again accused it of only protecting criminals.
“P1,000 nga. No [we’re not changing that], hindi, as far as the House is concerned,” he said in a television interview.
The Speaker claimed that the commission has not been fulfilling its constitutional mandate to protect the rights of all Filipinos.
“Gusto nila kriminal lang yung poprotektahan nila. Kapag… itong mga victims mismo ng human rights, ayaw nilang magsalita, wala man lang silang programa para doon sa mga biktima. Pero kapag ‘yung rights ng mga kriminal, ay maingay sila,” he said.
“Ngayon, kung gusto mong protektahan yung rights ng mga kriminal, ay kumuha ka ng budget doon sa mga kriminal, ganoon lang kasimple yun. Bakit ka kumukuha ng budget sa gobyerno, hindi mo ginagawa yung tungkulin mo?” he said.
Asked if the cutting of the CHR’s budget to only P1,000 would render the agency useless, Alvarez replied: “Useless din naman sila ngayon.”
The CHR has yet to formally face the House of Representatives for the plenary consideration of its P678 million proposed budget for 2018.
Originally scheduled for last Wednesday, the deliberation on the commission’s budget was moved to this Tuesday.
In an interview with reporters last Thursday, CHR chair Chito Gascon said they are hoping that the House would not provide them with zero budget for next year, as Alvarez earlier stated.
“Umaasa kami na yung salita ni Speaker sa committee level na ize-zero kami ay magbago ang kanyang isip dahil mahalaga po ang trabaho namin bilang isang constitutional office,” Gascon said.
“Sa dami ng mga nangyayaring human rights violations, kailangan makatugon kami. Hindi naman pwede na zero,” he added.
The House also earlier approved a P1,000 budget for the Energy Regulatory Commission for 2018, citing the internal problems and corruption within the agency.