Bato dela Rosa: I could be the most effective CHR chairman
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa believes he could be the “most effective” head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should he be given the chance to do so.
During the Senate deliberation on the proposed 2020 budget of CHR on Monday, Senator Panfilo Lacson suggested in jest that Dela Rosa should be appointed as the next chair of the government’s rights body.
This after Dela Rosa went on about how reformed heinous crime convicts should be given a second chance in life.
“Kung nagbago ‘yung tao, ba’t di natin bigyan ng second chance? And daming tao ang nagbagong buhay dun sa loob ng Bilibid sa totoo lang… pero dahil sa public uproar na-politicize ‘yong issue, eto, winala na natin yung GCTA which the purpose of which was to give lahat na sana ng tyansa, ng second life ‘yon lang ang aking comment diyan. Please don’t get me wrong,” he said.
(If the person really changed, why won’t we give him a second chance? A lot of inmates really underwent reform inside Bilibid… but due to public uproar, the issue was politicized, suddenly there were no more GCTA which the purpose of which was to give everyone a chance, a second life. That’s my take on that. Please don’t get me wrong).
The senator, a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, was referring to the controversy that hounded a law expanding the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates as its application inadvertently included heinous crime convicts.
However, the reported early release of murder and rape convict, former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, through the GCTA law triggered public furor. Consequently, a Senate investigation into GCTA law’s implementation was called.
Before this, Dela Rosa asked the position of CHR regarding issues about GCTA law.
Lacson, who was defending CHR’s 2020 budget, said the commission believes heinous crime convicts should not be qualified to avail the benefits of GCTA law and should be held accountable for the crimes they committed.
But, Lacson added, CHR maintains that such convicts are still human beings entitled to human rights.
“Maski preso may human rights pa rin kasi tao pa rin,” the senator said.
(Even though they are inmates, they still have human rights because they are still people).
Dela Rosa agreed with CHR’s position but expressed support for the reimposition of capital punishment.
“I am for the death penalty but kung walang death penalty at nagbagong buhay ‘yung heinous crime convict, by all means, dapat bigyan natin ng second chance (at) life kasi nakita ko talaga how they reform themselves. Kung hindi niyo nakita sa loob ng Bilibid, ako nakita ko. I have had enough experience,” Dela Rosa said.
(I am for the death penalty but if there is still no death penalty and heinous crime convicts are really reformed, by all means, they should be given a second chance at life because I saw how they reform themselves. If you have not seen it, I did. I have had enough experience).
“Ngayon maraming umiiyak sa loob ‘Sir, gaganda na sana buhay namin. Kahit na bago man lang kami mamatay makatikim man lang kami ng fresh air sa labas ng Bilibid pero ngayon nawala na yung GCTA, wala nang kwenta ang buhay namin’,” he added.
(Many inmates are crying inside ‘Sir, our lives would have been better. Before we die, we want to feel the fresh air outside Bilibid but now because there’s no more GCTA, our lives have become worthless).
“You should be appointed the next CHR chairman,” Lacson then said in jest.
In response, Dela Rosa said: “Well, I could be the most effective CHR chairman kung bigyan niyo ko ng tyansa.”
(Well, I could be the most effective CHR chairman if you would give me the chance).
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