Philippine senators were not too pleased about the House of Representatives’ decision of cutting the Commission on Human Rights’ 2018 budget down to just 1,000 Philippine Pesos ($20).
The original proposal of the Philippine CHR’s 2018 budged amounted to 678 million Philippine Pesos ($13 million), which was less than their budget last year.
While the Senate finance committee already approved the 678 million Philippine Peso proposal, the House of Representatives opted to contradict their wishes by reducing the amount even further.
According to Rappler, Senator Francis Pangilinan deemed the meager CHR 2018 budget as preposterous, citing that such a power play could lead the country straight into a dictatorship.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also criticized the House’s decision saying, “What government in its right mind would give a P1,000 budget to the CHR?”
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian stressed the importance of the CHR saying that it serves as a “check and balance” to the government, while Senator Francis Escudero shared the same sentiments describing the commission as “a constitutional imperative and a necessity, however inconvenient it may be for some.”
The Philippine senators are confident that they can somehow convince the House to restore the CHR’s proposed 2018 budget. However, President Rodrigo Duterte believed that the House’s decision on giving the commission a meager 2018 budget was justified since it wasn’t being effective, CNN reported.
The Philippine leader criticized the commission for their interference, which is allegedly of no help to them in their investigations involving the terrorist groups Maute and ISIS.
Furthermore, President Duterte explained that the commission’s efforts are also not helping the administration’s war on drugs and that CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon “had it coming.”
If the House’s decision of reducing the CHR’s 2018 budget to PHP1,000 follows through, then the amount is going to be a far cry from the commission’s 749 million ($14 million) budget in 2017.