Philippine Congress Gives Human Rights Commission $20 Budget for 2018

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After a heated debate on a cold and rainy afternoon, the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 12, voted to allocate only P1,000 to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for 2018.
Acting on a motion by SAGIP Representative Rodante Marcoleta, 119 voted in favor of giving the Constitutional body a measly P1,000 for the coming year. 32 legislators, a mix of majority, minority, and opposition members, voted against it.
Based on an initial count by House plenary staff, and video footage from the voting itself, the following lawmakers voted against Marcoleta's motion to slash the CHR budget:
  1. Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus
  2. Quezon City 6th district Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte
  3. BUHAY Representative Lito Atienza
  4. Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate
  5. Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago
  6. Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano
  7. Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao
  8. Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas
  9. ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio
  10. Cebu City 1st district Representative Raul del Mar
  11. Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman
  12. Northern Samar 1st district Representative Raul Daza
  13. Negros Oriental 1st district Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong
  14. Maguindanao 1st district Representative Bai Sandra Sema
  15. Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao
  16. Agusan del Norte 1st district Representative Lawrence Fortun
  17. Quezon City 3rd district Representative Jorge Banal
  18. Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin
  19. Manila 6th district Representative Sandy Ocampo
  20. Marikina City 1st district Representative Bayani Fernando
  21. Bukidnon 3rd district Representative Manuel Zubiri
  22. Camarines Sur 3rd district Representative Gabriel Bordado
No official tally of the votes exist on House records.
"There is no such record as voting was by ayes and nays, which was ultimately done with members standing to vote when the nays challenged the ruling of the chair that the ayes had it," explained Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st district Representative Rodolfo FariƱas.
This does not mean, however, that the CHR is sure to get only P1,000 for the coming fiscal year. The budget will be forwarded to the Senate for another round of deliberations.
If the two houses of Congress have different versions of the proposed budget, they will have to be reconciled through a bicameral conference committee that will consist of representatives of both the House and the Senate.
Not doing its job?
The measly P1,000 budget should not come as a surprise.
No less than House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, during committee debates over the proposed CHR budget, said the Constitutional body should get no budget for 2018, citing its supposed failure to perform.
On Monday, September 11, he said the House would be giving the agency a P1,000-budget, insisting that the CHR was not doing its job.
Hours before the House passed the measly budget, the Senate approved the CHR's proposed budget at the committee level.
The CHR has been the focus of criticism, particularly from President Rodrigo Duterte, following its statements against the ongoing war on drugs.
The Commission has repeatedly expressed concern over deaths linked to the drug war, specifically those which they claim were unjustified. It is still reviewing cases of police kills and homicides with alleged links to the drug trade.

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