TWO disappointed solons complained of not being given the chance to vote no to the P1,000 budget for the Commission on Human Rights.
Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) Rep. Sherwin Tugna and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. were not present in the plenary when lawmakers voted on the budget of CHR.
“We in CIBAC Party-List did not vote in favor of the proposal to allocate P1,000 for CHR. Unfortunately, the voting was pushed to the last item on the agenda, so I wasn’t able to register my vote together with other Congressmen no longer inside the session hall. Had I been there, I would have registered a ‘no’ vote,” Tugna said.
Days before the voting at the plenary, Tugna already made a public statement that giving the CHR zero or P1,000 budget is unjust.
“The CHR needs funds to check and balance abuses of those in power. The CHR should have been given its budget,” he pointed out.
For investigating the extrajudicial killings in connection with the anti-illegal drugs, the House of Representatives gave CHR a P1,000 budget for 2018, which according to some opposition solons is tantamount to abolition of the agency.
The final vote was 119 solons in favor of the budget and 32 against.
Baguilat expressed dismay over the decision of the majority of his colleagues.
Baguilat was present during the roll call for the deliberations, but thinking the voting would happen later, went to his office to discuss the concerns of his constituents who had traveled all the way from Ifugao.
“It’s unforgivable that I failed to ask my staff to prompt me when a crucial event was taking place on the floor so I could excuse myself from the visitors,” Baguilat said.
“I grieve with my fellow legislators who stood for the CHR and the fundamental rights of all Filipinos; yes, even the rights of those who voted to lower the CHR’s budget. I deeply apologize to the Filipino people for being unable to cast my vote,” Baguilat added.
The solon said he firmly reiterated his support for the CHR and human rights.