SENATORS crossed partylines on Wednesday as they defended the P678 million proposed budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which the House of Representatives slashed to P1,000.
The Senate finance committee has approved the P678 million budget requested by the CHR.
“Being the sponsor who will defend the CHR budget in the Senate, I will do my darn best to restore the 678 million 2018 budget of the agency,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said he was sure that the Senate would give the CHR “a more generous budget.” It is a body tasked to check abuse and uphold fundamental rights, he said.
“The CHR is a constitutional (body), imperative and a necessity. However inconvenient it may be for some, I will fight to restore its budget,” Sen. Francis Escudero said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Congress should not reduce the budget of the Commission on Human Rights, a constitutionally mandated body, to a mere P1,000.
“We are committed to oppose such moves by restoring the CHR budget in the Senate even if it means the non-passage of the 2018 budget and the re-enactment of the 2017 budget wherein funding for the CHR is assured,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
“Now we must fight to maintain this budget, if not augment it, during the bicameral conference to help the commission fulfill its mandate under the 1987 Constitution,” said Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th.
Lacson, Angara, Escudero, and Gatchalian belong to the “supermajority bloc” while Pangilinan and Aquino are members of the minority group. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO