De Lima slams Duterte over threat to abolish CHR
Senator Leila de Lima on Saturday said she was appalled but not surprised by President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to abolish the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) following over what he deemed as its interference with the government’s drug war and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“I no longer find it surprising given that the President demonizes human rights advocates and promotes killings as crime prevention even before he assumed the presidency,” De Lima, who was CHR chair from 2008 to 2010 during former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration, said in a statement.
In a press conference after Duterte’s Second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Duterte warned CHR to stop investigating members of the police or military without seeking the approval of his office, as he mulled its abolishment.
“And when the time comes, ‘yung CHR, ‘yung opisina dito (the CHR, this office), you are better abolished,” Duterte said.
“I will not allow my men to go there to be investigated. Human Rights Commission, you address your request through me because the Armed Forces is under me and the police is under me. Kaya ‘pag kinuwestyon ninyo sila for investigation, dadaan muna sa akin (That’s why if you have to question them for investigation, they will have to go over me),” the president added.
The CHR, created under the 1987 Constitution, is tasked to protect citizens’ rights from abuses by the state.
The CHR has criticized the alleged abuses since Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao.
CHR has kept a watchful eye on reports of threats or instances of warrant-less arrests in the province, which irked the President, de Lima said.
“Over the years, CHR has proven its exemplary work as a cornerstone of human rights in the country. It has served countless Filipinos through its programs and services, and has addressed institutional challenges in terms of resources and extent of its mandate,” she added.
The detained senator said she will continue to denounce the government’s “bloody regime.”
“This regime can send its most vicious hatchet men against me, but I refuse to be silenced on the human rights situation in the country. Down to my last breath, I will continue opposing this bloody regime,” said de Lima. IDL