The shameful 119
WE salute these lawmakers who voted against a move to punish the Commission on Human Rights with a budget of P1,000 for 2018.
Gary Alejano (Magdalo Party-list)
Lito Atienza (Buhay Party-list)
Kaka Bag-ao (Dinagat Island)
Jorge Banal (Quezon City)
Kit Belmonte (Quezon City)
Emmanuel Billones (Capiz)
Gabriel Bordado (Camarines Sur)
Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Party-list)
Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu)
Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis Party-list)
France Castro (Gabriela Party-list)
Fred Castro (Capiz)
Raul Daza (Northern Samar)
Emmi De Jesus (Gabriela)
Raul Del Mar (Cebu)
Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan Party-list)
Bayani Fernando (Marikina)
Lawrence Fortun (Agusan del Norte)
Mark Go (Baguio City)
Edcel Lagman (Albay)
Jocelyn Limkaichong (Negros Oriental)
Evelyn Mellana (Agusan del Sur)
Rosenda Ann Ocampo (Manila)
Aileen Radaza (Lapu-lapu City)
Ramon Rocamora (Siquijor)
Bai Sandra Sema (Maguindanao/Cotabato City)
Antonio Tinio (Act Teachers)
Tom Villarin (Akbayan Party-list)
Rosanna Vergara (Nueva Ecija)
Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-list)
Manuel Zubiri (Bukidnon)
We hold in contempt all 119 lawmakers who approved the decision to cripple the constitutional agency tasked to protect our individual rights, and reserve our strongest scorn for House leaders who encouraged such nonsense, and party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, who moved to reduce the agency’s budget from P678 million to P1,000.
Marcoleta argued that the CHR should be investigating all human rights violations, including those by criminals, communist rebels and terrorists—forgetting that this is the jurisdiction of the police and other law enforcement agencies whose budgets far outstrip that of the CHR.
Marcoleta also argued that the CHR was “invalidly” created—neglecting to say that its establishment was not the result of an executive order, as he suggests, but a mandate in the Section 17, Article 13 of the 1987 Constitution.
Punch-drunk with power, lawmakers such as Marcoleta, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who had threatened earlier to give the CHR a budget of zero for 2018; and the other 117 who voted for the ill-considered budget decision do not realize or much care that their vindictive actions have real world repercussions.
Encouraged by a powerless CHR, those who would abuse state power would be emboldened to commit human rights violations, a state of affairs that hurts all citizens, regardless of which party is in power.
Our standing in the international community as a nation that respects and protects human rights and that lives up to its treaty obligations—already teetering from the President’s outrageous declarations—would suffer yet another critical blow.
We are hopeful that the independent men and women of the Senate will not let this outrage pass; we heap shame on the 119 members of the House of Representatives who let hubris and vindictiveness get in the way of doing their duty.