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LP lauds 32 who voted vs CHR’s P1,000 budget

 The Liberal Party of the Philippines on Wednesday commended the 32 lawmakers who voted against the P1,000 budget of the Commission on Human Rights for 2018. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Liberal Party of the Philippines on Wednesday commended the 32 lawmakers who voted against giving the Commission on Human Right a  P1,000 budget for 2018.

The minority party said the 32 lawmakers stood up for the Filipino people as it slammed the 119 others who voted against giving the commission a proper budget.

READ: Duterte on P1,000 CHR budget: Gascon had it coming

“The 32 are awake, while the 119 who voted for the measly CHR budget may be unaware that their vote could lead to the end of our democracy,” the Liberal Party said in a statement.

“During the viva voce (live voice) voting, we note the louder ‘nay’ votes, those who lent their voice to the poor and powerless whose human rights are being violated, whose lives are being taken with impunity and without due process,” it added.

For LP, the voice of the 32 lawmakersis a victory that “should inspire all who value human rights to unite against the massacre of people and democratic institutions.”

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Among the 32 who voted against the motion are members of the LP including the  party’s secretary general, Rep. Kit Belmonte (Quezon City, 6th District).

Other LP members are representatives Jorge Banal (Quezon City, 3rd District); Emmanuel Billones (Capiz, 1st District); Gabriel Bordado (Camarines Sur, 3rd District); Raul del Mar (Cebu City, 1st District); Edcel Lagman (Albay, 1st District);  and Jocelyn Limkaichong (Negros Oriental; 1st District).

Among those who also voted against the diminished CHR budget were: 

  • Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus
  • Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas
  • Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza
  • Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate
  • Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago
  • Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano
  • Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao
  • ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio
  • Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Raul Daza
  • Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Bai Sandra Sema
  • Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao

There is no official list of how particular lawmakers voted since it was done viva voce instead of through nominal voting. 

Liberal Party members at the Senate have said they will fight to restore the CHR's budget.

CHR Chairman Chito Gascon used to be an active member of the LP, a connection that has made it easy for President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in government and on social media to brand the commission as "dilawan" — a pejorative based on yellow, the LP's campaign color.

'119 voted for defenseless life, death'

LP said the 119 affirmative votes mean they are in favor of having more extrajudicial killings and victims.

“Their ‘yea’ votes means they agree to having more Kians, Carls, and Kulots, defenseless in life and in death, their killers unpunished,” LP said, referring to Kian Delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo "Kulot" De Guzman, teens who have died violently in recent weeks. Delos Santos and Arnaiz died at the hands of Caloocan police. 

On Tuesday evening, the majority of the members House of Representatives voted to give CHR a 1,000-peso budget, an amount that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who initially wanted the commission to get no money at all, pointed out was better than zero.

The measly budget is a fraction of the commission's proposed P678 million budget.

Prior to the budget deliberations, Alvarez already expressed intent to give CHR a P,1000 budget for allegedly failing to fulfill their duty. CHR, a constitutional body tasked to monitor the government’s adherence and respect for human rights in its actions and orders, has been critical of Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“Hindi naman zero, 1000. Kasi hindi nila ginagawa yung trabaho nila. Yung mandato nila under the Constitution, hindi nila ginagawa. Ngayon kung gusto mong protektahan yung rights ng mga kriminal, e kumuha ka ng budget dun sa mga kriminal. Ganun lang kasimple yun," Alvarez said.

READ: CHR: Congress knows commission's role, mandate

Duterte earlier this year threatened to abolish the CHR. He eventually took it back and said he was only joking.

Duterte explained that he knew he would need the imprimatur of Congress, one that his allies control, before he could abolish the commission. 

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