After majority of Congress voted to give the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a 2018 budget of P1,000, Filipinos took to social media to express their reactions.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez threatened a zero budget because CHR was allegedly only focused on protecting the rights of criminals.
The function of the CHR is to protect the civil and political rights of citizens which could be threatend by the state, while criminal cases fall under the jurisdiction of the Philippine National Police.
The Commission, headed by Chairperson Chito Gascon, has been critical of extrajudicial killings conducted by police officers.
Following the vote, senators declared that they would restore CHR’s budget; these senators include those who have expressed support for the Duterte administration.
Among the people who were vocal over the overwhelming vote of 119-32 to allot P1,000 to CHR were local celebrities.
Host and actor Luis Manzano clarified in a tweet that his mother Vilma Santos was against the measly budget.
In a text to her son, the Lipa City representative said, “With so much crimes/EJK they need more resources to these investigations.”
Actor Dingdong Dantes showed which side he was on.
“NAY,” he wrote, as Congress voted through viva voce with “nays” and “ayes”.
He also expressed his dismay on the votes: “Akalain mong 32 lang sila (Can you believe only 32 voted ‘no’?).”
Musician Jim Paredes asked, “Where will the poor go when they are abused by public officials?”
He also said Filipinos should not lose sight of the important issue at hand: Paolo Duterte failing to show his tattoo that could prove he is part of the Chinese crime syndicate triad.
Talent manager and comedian Ogie Diaz questioned the House of Representatives’ decision.
“Para sa bayan ba ang desisyon o para sa interes ng pinapaboran?”
He called out Speaker Alvarez on his reasoning: “Puro kriminal kasi ang dinedepensa, sabi ni Spkr Alvarez. Wala bang mas malalim-lalim na dahilan, Sir?”
Diaz also thanked the 32 representatives who said no.
Bianca Gonzalez expressed dismay at what the Commission could do with P1,000:
She couldn’t help but ask the majority, “Bakit (Why)?”
Actor and athlete Enchong Dee promised to “love my country despite of this government”:
Singer Leah Navarro stated that the Upper House support could have been because senators witnessed the backlash against their Lower House counterparts.
Actress Agot Isidro shared a picture of representatives doing President Rodrigo Duterte’s characteristic fist and labeled it, “#HouseofRepresentaTHIEVES”.
She had a message for the 119 Lower House reps: “When it is your turn, do not ask help from the CHR. #bilogangmundo”
Both Isidro and actress Jasmine Curtis-Smith hoped the Senate would vote against the P1,000 budget:
“Sana sa senado may pagasa pa (I hope there’s still hope in the Senate),” wrote Curtis-Smith.
It seems their pleas have been answered: the Senate approved a P678 million budget for the CHR. JB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.