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Duterte denies hand in P1,000 budget for CHR but says Gascon had it coming: Galit Kongreso sa kanya

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The ire of lawmakers against Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Chito Gascon was the reason the House of Representatives moved to slash his agency’s budget to a meager P1,000, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

In an interview Tuesday (September 12) at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Duterte denied that the House acted on his orders to give CHR a virtual zero budget for next year.

“He had it coming… Ganito ‘yan eh. Ito si Gascon, palibhasa pro-dilaw talaga, he opens his mouth in a most inappropriate way and he conducts the business of being CHR. Walang alam,” Duterte said after visiting a soldier’s wake.

“‘Yan galit ang mga congressman. Wala… Ako walang akong ano sa kanya. Bigyan mo ‘yan ng budget. For all I care kung anong gusto niyang imbestigahan,” he added.

Duterte, however, expressed disapproval over CHR’s supposed meddling in police investigations on drug-related killings

“Bantayan nila ‘yung pulis, tingnan nila. They collate. They collate. Ipunin. Then they make a study and then they file the appropriate recommendation. Pero kung makihalo ka doon sa pulis, makipagkalkal ka rin. Then pagdating doon sa opisina mo, there is a foregone conclusion already. How are you supposed to be neutral?” he asked.

The President likewise took issue with the CHR’s vow to investigate alleged human rights abuses so soon after he declared martial law, saying he was affected by it because it was he who ordered soldiers to fight.

Duterte said that while Congress may be angry at Gascon, he was “not here to destroy institutions.”

Voting 119-32, the House approved a P1,000 budget for CHR. The amount, however, is not yet final since the proposed general Appropriations Act will have to be deliberated in the Senate and the bicameral conference committee.