MANILA, Philippines – While the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) officials may now be shaking their heads over the P1,000 budget approved by the Lower House, the constitutional body will certainly not suffer the same fate in the Senate.
This after Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson vowed to defend during the bicameral conference committee hearing the P678-M budget it earlier approved for the CHR.
“Of course we will stand our ground on this matter and more. Once we get hold of the House version of the General Appropriations Bill, we will scrutinize it as we always do year in and year out,” said Lacson in a text message to Rappler.
“I happen to be the sponsor of the CHR budget in the Senate, along with a few other agencies like the DND ARMM, etc. I accept the challenge,” the lawmaker also tweeted.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also echoed Lacson on supporting the CHR budget; saying the human rights body will not meet the same fate in the Senate as it did in the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, lawmakers at the House of Representatives voted 119-32 in giving the CHR the P1,000 annual budget for supposedly criticizing the government and for not doing its job.
Speaker Pantaleaon Alvarez even went to the extent of saying in an interview that if CHR would continue defending the rights of the criminals, then the latter should get their budget from them instead.
But CHR chairperson Chito Gascon, despite the disappointment, remains hopeful that “reason, necessity, and rational minds will prevail both in the Senate and in the bicameral committee.”