PHILIPPINE POLITICS: Duterte Critics, Allies in Senate Vow to Block Budget Cut for Rights Body

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By Politicoscope September 13, 2017 13:30
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Duterte on Tuesday appeared to distance himself from the lawmakers proposing the meager budget. He said CHR was constitutionally created and should probe whatever it wants, adding he was “not here to destroy institutions”.

“He had it coming. He opens his mouth in a most inappropriate way. He knows nothing,” Duterte said, referring to Gascon. “The congressmen are really angry. I have nothing against him. Give them a budget for all I care, whatever he likes to investigate.”

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PHILIPPINE POLITICS: Duterte Critics, Allies in Senate Vow to Block Budget Cut for Rights Body

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics and allies in the Senate vowed on Wednesday to block a lower house move to slash the annual budget of a public-funded human rights agency opposed to his bloody war on drugs to just $20.

The house, dominated by Duterte’s supporters, voted on Tuesday to allocate a 2018 budget of just 1,000 pesos ($20) to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which has investigated hundreds of killings during the president’s ferocious anti-narcotics crackdown.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte’s running mate and has locked horns with him numerous times, said the lawmakers’ move effectively abolishes the CHR, a constitutional body.

Duterte’s signature campaign has left thousands of mostly urban poor Filipinos dead. Critics say the lawmakers are trying to retaliate against the CHR for pursuing allegations of executions by police during sting operations, which police deny.

The CHR is among the domestic and foreign rights groups that Duterte frequently admonishes, accusing them of lecturing him and disregarding Filipinos who are victims of crimes stemming from drug addiction.

The upper house minority bloc, composed of six staunch critics of the president, will seek to restore the 678 million peso budget the government and a Senate sub-committee had proposed for the CHR.

Senator Risa Hontiveros described the plan to cut the budget to almost nil as “a shameless rejection of the country’s international and national commitments to champion human rights”.

Several allies of Duterte in the 24-seat chamber said they would scrutinize the house move and try to ensure the commission had a budget that would allow it to work properly.

Senator Richard Gordon said the CHR had a job to do and should not be restricted.

“That is their role – to expose possible abuses,” he said.

Another legislator, JV Ejercito said senators would not make the CHR impotent.

“The CHR is in the thick of things and very relevant nowadays and probably even next year and the years to follow because of what’s happening,” he said in a statement.

Duterte once threatened to abolish the CHR after its chief, Chito Gascon, sought to investigate alleged abuses by police anti-drugs units.

Duterte on Tuesday appeared to distance himself from the lawmakers proposing the meager budget. He said CHR was constitutionally created and should probe whatever it wants, adding he was “not here to destroy institutions”.

“He had it coming. He opens his mouth in a most inappropriate way. He knows nothing,” Duterte said, referring to Gascon.

“The congressmen are really angry. I have nothing against him. Give them a budget for all I care, whatever he likes to investigate.”

– Reuters



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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope September 13, 2017 13:30
Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help
There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
If everyone who reads our news content, likes it and helps to support it, we can have future guarantee to offer you with the best daily news content and other amazing features, all for free.
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