THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines on Tuesday appealed to the senators to shepherd a workable budget for the Commission on Human Rights following a decision in the House of Representatives to give the agency a budget of only P1,000 for 2018.
IBP national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo said the House’s decision was an affront to the rule of law and anathema to the continued existence and independence of the CHR. The Senate should do something about it.
“In celebration of Law Week, the IBP Board of Governors, by a formal resolution, has urged the Senate of the Philippines to exercise its powers under Section 24, Article VI of the Constitution to propose amendments to the General Appropriations Bill approved by the House of Representatives and thereby ensure that the CHR is provided a sufficient amount of public funds in the GAA for 2018,” the IBP, the mandatory lawyers’ organization, said in a statement.
The Senate finance committee earlier recommended approval of the CHR’s proposed budget of P678 million for 2018.
The IBP said the budget proposed by the Senate was more in keeping with the clear and unequivocal constitutional intent behind the creation of the CHR.
The group said providing sufficient funding to the CHR would not only give meaning to the Constitution but also to the fundamental policy of the State to value the dignity of every human person and to guarantee full respect for human rights.
The House’s decision to give the CHR a P1,000 budget next year drew criticism from various sectors, but House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez defended the move saying the agency was too one-sided in its criticism of the government’s anti-drug war, which had resulted in the death of thousands of people since last year.
Alvarez has also called for the resignation of CHR Commissioner Chito Gascon, a call that Gascon has rejected.