By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that the House of Representatives’ (HOR) move to give three government agencies a budget of P1,000 each for 2018 is part of the government system’s checks and balances.
This after the HOR went under fire after it allocated the amount for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) over their alleged failure to protect the human rights of all people and to protect the minorities, respectively.
Prior to this, the HOR allotted the same amount to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) citing corruption allegations following the suicide of its director Francisco Jose Villa Jr.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, while it is true that the Executive Branch proposes the budget, it is for the Congress to decide on the amount to be allocated to government agencies.
“This is part of the checks and balances of our system of government,” Abella said in a statement Wednesday morning.
“The Executive proposes the budget but it is Congress that approves the appropriation, which includes the amount to be allocated to the departments and offices of government,” he added.
On Tuesday, 119 lawmakers voted in favor of giving the CHR a P1,000-budget while only 32 lawmakers opposed it. The CHR originally proposed a budget of P678 million for 2018.
Before the House vote, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that the measly budget was appropriate because the agency failed to do its duty to protect the human rights of all Filipinos.
President Duterte, in a media interview at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City late Tuesday night, blamed “pro-yellow” CHR chairperson Chito Gascon for the measly budget.
“He had it coming,” Duterte said of Gascon. “He opens his mouth in a most inappropriate way and he conducts the business of being CHR. Walang alam (He knows nothing).”
However, Duterte said he hoped the House would reconsider the controversial vote.
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