Drilon sees ‘deadlock’ in national budget over CHR allocation
Minority leader Senator Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday that there just might be a “deadlock” in the deliberations of the proposed 2018 national budget if the House of Representatives will insist on giving the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a meager P1,000-budget.
In an interview, Drilon lamented how the lower House managed to practically abolish the constitutional body with a vote of 119-32, in favor of allotting just P1,000 for CHR next year.
“The Senate, I would like to think, will not stand for the abolition of the CHR, through giving it a P1,000-budget.,” Drilon said. “If the House will insist on that, then there will be a deadlock for 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).”
According to Drilon, Congress has in effect rendered the CHR incapable of performing any of its function when it approved a measly budget for the agency.
“That can be constitutionally questioned because the CHR is a constitutional body and it is provided for in the constitution; it has fiscal autonomy,” Drilon pointed out.
Saying that the planned donation by certain groups to CHR would no longer be necessary, Drilon assured that they will return CHR’s P678-million budget in the Senate.
“We will take the position that if the House will not agree to restore the budget of the CHR, then so be it, we will have a re-enacted budget,” he said.
However, Senator JV Ejercito believes that the debate on the CHR budget would not lead to a deadlock.
“Siguro hindi naman aabot sa gano’n because we’ve not had a re-enacted budget for a long time (I do not think we’ll reach that point because we’ve not had a re-enacted budget for a long time),” Ejercito said in an interview.
“I don’t see any reason na magkaroon kami ng deadlock o magkaroon ng re-enacted budget dahil lamang hindi magkasundo ang Senado at House of Representatives dahil lamang sa budget ng CHR (I don’t see any reason for us to reach a deadlock or have a re-enacted budget just because the Senate and the House of Representatives could not agree on the CHR’s budget),” Ejercito also said.
Aside from CHR, majority of House lawmakers also voted to allocate only P1,000 each for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for 2018. /kga
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