How Iloilo lawmakers voted on CHR budget


HOW did representatives from Iloilo province vote on budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for 2018?

On Sept 12, 2017, only 42 members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the proposed P687-million budget of the commission while 119 approved a measly P1,000.

First district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. said his vote for the meager budget was a swipe at CHR chair Chito Gascon.

“I voted yes to reduce the budget. But the vote yes is geared towards the chairman of the commission. But I also believe in the performance of our rank and files,” Garin said in a radio interview.

Garin said he believes that the budget for salaries of employees will be reconsidered or restored during the bicameral conference proceedings.

“I’m sure that the budget of CHR for personnel services will be restored so as not to violate the security of tenure of our government employees and other employees. Other projects, programs, maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlay will be reduced but I am sure the salaries will be restored. If you remove a person from service, it needs due process,” he added.

In a text message to The Daily Guardian, 2nd district Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta said he is still on leave, thus he was unable to vote.

Gorriceta refrained from answering when asked for his decision if he was present at the House.

Third District Rep. Arthur Defensor Sr. confirmed that he voted in favor of slashing the CHR’s budget.

“Yes ako,” he said without elaborating in a text message to The Daily Guardian.

Rep. Ferjenel Biron of the fourth district said he was unable to vote as he left the session early.

But Biron said he would have approved the P678-million proposed budget for the CHR.

“The budget reflected in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) is enough. They should get their entitlement,” he said in a subsequent text message to The Daily Guardian.

Biron refrained from commenting on allegations of incompetence against the CHR.

“I have not studied well the performance of the agency so I cannot comment,” he said.

Fifth district Rep. Raul Tupas cannot be reached for comment.

As expected, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas said his decision in favor of the measly budget was in support of the majority.

“Bal-an mo kundi upod ko sa super majority dira sa congress,” he said in a phone interview.

While he approved the P1,000 budget, Treñas said the salaries of employees will still be included in the budget.

“What will happen is that the budget for salaries and personal services ibutang gid man na,” he added.

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