Int'l rights group slam P1,000 'defunding' of CHR

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By an overwhelming vote of 119 to 32 vote on Tuesday, Congress reduced the CHR's budget from P678 million to P1,000.

A New York-based global human rights group has denounced the virtual defunding of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) following the move of the Lower House to appropriate mere P1,000 or about $20 for its budget next fiscal year.

Protesters light candles on photos of alleged extra-judicial killings during a rally outside the Philippine National Police headquarters to protest the recent killing by police of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, Aug.23, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said he was sure that the Senate would give the CHR "a more generous budget".

But Congressman Edcel Lagman said the president's supporters were "virtually imposing the death penalty on a constitutionally created and mandated office".

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez first made the bid to decrease the CHR's budget following their constant criticisms toward the administration. "It's that simple. Why should you get budget from the government and yet you are not doing your job?"

The budget requires Senate approval before it becomes final, but opponents say it is likely to be passed because Mr Duterte has a majority in both the house's chambers.

Duterte has vowed to kill tens of thousands of criminals to rid the country of illegal drugs, and has said he would not allow any soldier or police to go to prison for helping him prosecute the campaign.

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The firebrand leader had even previously threatened to scrap the body.

"Being the sponsor who will defend the CHR budget in the Senate, I will do my darn best to restore the 678 million 2018 budget of the agency", Sen.

On the second reading of the legislation, Congress voted to slash that to just 1,000 pesos (£25).

Philippine lawmakers have moved to cut the budget of the nation's human rights commission to $20 and impeach the Supreme Court chief justice in what critics on Wednesday labelled part of a slide towards dictatorship.

CHR head, Chito Gascon, believes the petty budget is an attempt to force his resignation.

"The principal reason why I can not resign my office is that to do so is to weaken the institution itself", Gascon said.

This "war on drugs" has triggered a spate of violence in the country, which was marked by the death in circumstances unexplained of thousands of other people. "Asking me to resign would lead to essentially making the institution forever at the mercy of politics".

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