De Lima laments Duterte decision to veto establishment of Human Rights Institute


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima expressed dismay over the decision of Mr. Duterte to veto the establishment of a Human Rights Institute (HRI) in this year’s record P5.02-trillion National Budget.

De Lima, former Chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), said Duterte ended his term the way he started it: with disdain and disregard for human rights in our country.

“When he started his term, he had his allies in Congress attempt to defund the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Now, he tries to undo a human rights-related initiative agreed on by both chambers of Congress that he had no control over,” she said.

“For Duterte to veto even a harmless provision in the General Appropriations Act shows his “allergy” for everything remotely related to the promotion of human rights,” she added.

Duterte signed on December 30, 2021, the proposed P5.024 trillion National Budget this year, which is now known as Republic Act No. 11639 or the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2022.

Documents containing the Duterte administration’s last GAA reportedly showed that among the five budget items vetoed by the President was the special provision for the Human Rights Institute.

CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said in a statement that the HRI is a project that would allow the Commission to fulfill its mandate on human rights research and information dissemination – as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

“The Human Rights Institute is an office created by the CHR in furtherance of its mandate to make human rights education more accessible to the people at no additional/separate cost to the government. It merely seeks to organize existing efforts to make them more effective and efficient,” De Lima explained.

The lady Senator from Bicol stressed that Duterte’s last veto message does nothing except betray his anti-human rights mindset.  

“Kung hindi para sa kapakanan niya at ng mga alipores niya, balewala ang karapatang-pantao,” said she.

“Para sa trying-hard maging diktador, sila lang ang may karapatan. Hindi na ako magugulat pag maging bukambibig niya ang ‘human rights’ sa kanyang pagmumura pag umusad na ang mga kaso laban sa kaniya ng mga biktima ng mga pang-aabuso ng kaniyang rehimen,” she added.

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