Press Release
September 13, 2017

Giving CHR P1,000 budget is tantamount to abolition, unconstitutional, says Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon warned that giving the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a P1,000 budget sets a dangerous precedent, saying it is tantamount to "constructive abolition" of a constitutional body.

Drilon made the statement as he warned of a possible budget deadlock if the House of Representatives will insist on giving the CHR P1,000 instead of P678 million, the amount that a senate sub-committee chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson recently endorsed for the CHR's 2018 budget.

"By giving CHR P1,000 budget, in effect you are abolishing the CHR by removing any power to operate the agency," Drilon said. "In effect you are abolishing the agency and that can be constitutionally questioned because the CHR is a constitutional body."

"You cannot abolish a constitutional commission especially by not giving it a budget. By not giving it a budget, you, in effect, abolish it. It is constructive abolition, which may set a dangerous precedent, especially among our constitutional bodies including the Supreme Court," Drilon stressed.

"If the action of the house is not corrected, there is a very dangerous precedent, because it means that other constitutional bodies such as the Supreme Court, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Election can now be abolished by giving them a P1,000 budget," Drilon warned.

The Senate minority leader said that if the house will not agree to restore the budget of the CHR, "then so be it, we will have a re-enacted budget."

"The Senate, I would like to think, will not stand for the abolition of the CHR, through giving it a P1,000 budget. If the house will insist on that, then there will be a deadlock for 2018 general appropriations act," Drilon said.

The minority leader said that more than ever, the CHR should be "provided with adequate funds" amidst the killing and reports of human rights violations that are happening in the country the past few months.

"We believe that the CHR plays a very critical role in this government particularly in light of the numerous killings in the campaign against illegal drugs, most especiialy those involving the death of teenagers such as Kian Lloyd delos Santos," Drilon said.

Apart from investigating human rights vioaltions, the agency, Drilon emphasized, performs many other tasks such as to serve vulnerable sectors of societies, particularly workers including overseas Filipino workers and their families, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, internally displaced persons, senior citizens, persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE), women, children, youth, and other marginalized groups.

Aside from Drilon, the Senate Minority Bloc is composed of Senators Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Benigno Paulo "Bam" Aquino IV, and Leila De Lima, all belonging to the Liberal Party; Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV; and Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros.

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