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Shutdown the House of Representatives

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

12,000 killed. 0 justice. 1,000 pesos for human rights.

From electing to return the death penalty law, to confirming Martial Law in Mindanao, initiating impeachment proceedings against officials responsible for checks and balances in government, the House of Representatives now has reached a new low in voting down the budget of the Commission on Human Rights to just one thousand pesos for 2018. This is tantamount to shutting down perhaps the single most credible public mechanism to address the massive human rights violations in the country today.

This act puts Congress in violation of the Constitution, which has created the Commission on Human Rights to investigate abuses by state agents. This budget puts at risk thousands of relatives of EJK victims seeking protection and relief, victims of abuse by government elements, internally displaced persons, and victims of Martial Law in Mindanao. This appalling behavior on the part of the House of Representatives compromises the country’s commitments to the UN Human Rights Council, which is set to adopt the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review to improve human rights in the Philippines this September in Geneva.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez himself is liable for this travesty and must be investigated for conduct unbecoming of a public official and consistently debasing one of the highest offices in the land.

iDEFEND calls therefore on the Senate to rectify this grave abuse of power during the Bicameral meeting on the CHR’s budget. Our people here and abroad should not have to resort to raising the funds for the CHR; it is the government’s job to provide full support to this critical institution. Instead iDEFEND calls on the shutdown of the House of Representatives because it has repeatedly served to deliver President Duterte’s legislative agenda towards perpetuating kill policy legislations and installing authoritarian rule. The people must end its support for an institution that has failed time and time again to defend our democracy and strengthen human rights. The people must demand a Congress deserving of our trust and confidence now.

In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement

September 13, 2017