CORDILLERA lawmakers expressed their disgust following the Lower House move to slash the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to a measly P1,000 for 2018.
Baguio representative Mark Go was among the 32 solons who went against the majority and opposed the budget cut for the agency.
“I am one of the 32 congressmen/women who voted NO to the P1,000 budget of CHR,” Go said.
Go clarified a picture circulating in social media showing members of congress posing with the signature administration pose.
“The picture was taken after the session not, after the voting on the CHR budget. The picture includes also those who voted NO,” clarified Go.
Benguet representative Ronnie Cosalan was also against the financial cut to the CHR.
“I do not support P1,000 budget for CHR. It sends a wrong signal to our people that human rights no longer a primordial priority of the government. Also, its puts to risk the CHR being subject to political pressure and control,” Cosalan said.
However, Cosalan was not on the floor during the voting, saying the vote was done without their prior knowledge.
“I left the floor by 530 and went to another appointment” said the solon.
Ifugao Congressman Teddy Baguilat Jr. expressed his dismay over the decision of the majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve a measly budget for the agency.
Baguilat was present during the roll call for the deliberations, but thinking the voting would happen later, he went to his office to discuss the concerns of his constituents who had travelled all the way from Ifugao.
“It’s unforgivable that I failed to ask my staff to prompt me when a crucial was taking place on the floor so I could excuse myself from the visitors,” Baguilat said.
Baguilat fears removing CHR’s budget is tantamount to eliminating its mandate to investigate, on its own or on complaint by anyone, all forms of violations involving civil and political rights.
“I grieve with my fellow legislators who stood for the CHR and the fundamental rights of all Filipinos; yes, even the rights of those who voted to lower the CHR’s budget. I deeply apologize to the Filipino people for being unable to cast my vote,” Baguilat said.
Baguilat added he firmly reiterates his support for the CHR and human rights.
“I stand with the CHR and I will continue to work toward helping the CHR fulfill its Constitutional mandate to protect Filipino citizens from state abuse and the violation of their rights,” Baguilat continued.
Baguilat, meanwhile, implored his colleagues in the Senate to decide on this matter with greater maturity and more responsibility.