Senator Alan Peter Cayetano called out the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for slamming the Senate Justice Committee and its chairperson, Sen. Richard Gordon, for suspending the hearing on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country following a heated debate with Sen. Leila de Lima over the “material concealment” of an information about witness Edgar Matobato.
Cayetano on Wednesday (October 12) criticized the CHR over one of its commissioners’ recent remarks against Gordon, which several senators described as an attack against the entire Senate institution.
Last October 4, CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz issued a statement calling Gordon a “coward” for suspending the proceedings.
Cayetano for his part stressed that as a constitutional body, the Commission should have enough respect for the Senate as an independent body, including its processes and procedures.
“The public and the media can criticize us all they want… It is their right. But if departments, agencies, or constitutional bodies would be allowed to do this… then they are running the Senate. We are not independent anymore,” he said.
The senator made his manifestation on the floor after Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri delivered a privilege speech demanding the CHR to issue a proper apology to Gordon and to members of the committee.
Cayetano also took note of the Commission’s call for the committee to come up with “fair and credible results cognizant of the latter’s independence and competence.”
“I’d like to clarify, what does that mean? Kung hindi sila satisfied sa results, hindi na ito fair and credible? Kung ang resulta ay lumabas at hindi ito ang resultang gusto ng CHR, they will again slam the Senate. So why apologize in the first place?” Cayetano said.
Furthermore, the senator questioned CHR officials for their lack of initiative in conducting their own investigation on cases of human rights violations in the country. He said the Commission is tasked to probe such cases and to submit their findings to the country’s prosecutorial services.
“The CHR is a constitutional body. It is up to them to investigate human rights violations. So I do not understand why they are making it appear to the public and to the international community that when we stop, tigil na ang imbestigasyon sa human rights... They can investigate 24/7… Yung atin, in aid of legislation,” Cayetano said. #