A good working relationship: Lorenzana defends CHR, says they help deter gov’t abuses

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  • Defense secretary said CHR should be given proper budget to do its mandate
  • He defended the commission’s function, said it keeps gov’t and its enforcers in check
  • He also recalled good working relationship with CHR when he was still in active service

MANILA, Philippines – A sympathetic Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana took the cudgels for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); saying it should be given a proper budget in order for it to perform its constitutionally-mandated function of monitoring human rights abuses by the government.

“CHR is a constitutional body eh. Gawa ng batas ‘yan, constitution ‘yan [The law created it, it’s constitutional]. The people there can’t be removed. It has the right to be funded,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.

Lorenzana explained that the CHR’s existence serves as a check against any excesses of the government, police and military.

“For one, it keeps government officials, especially the military and police, na ingat sila sa ginagawa nila [they have to be cautious with their actions), because anything that they will do ay liable sila sa [they will be liable for] human rights violation. For check and balance,” he pointed out.

The defense chief also noted that the Armed Forces have been well-behaved — with he himself having a good working relationship with the CHR while he was still in active service.

“Kung titignan mo record namin for the past couple of years, very few lang ang human rights violation sa amin sa military [If you look at our record for the past couple of years, you would see very few human rights violations in the military],” he said. “Iniimbita ko ‘yan noon para mag-lecture because people should be taught what is human rights sa constitution. Mayroon na nga tayong mga human rights sa units eh—we have a human rights representative in every unit of the AFP down to the company and battalion na sila naglelecture ng mga tao on human rights.”

[I would invite them before for lectures because people should be taught what human rights is in the Constitution. We have a human rights representative in every unit of the AFP down to the company and battalion and they are the ones lecturing about human rights.]

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