Manila votes to cut rights group bud­get to $26

The New Paper - - NEWS -

Philip­pine law­mak­ers have voted to slash fund­ing for its hu­man rights com­mis­sion to $26 in re­sponse to the com­mis­sion’s probes into Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s deadly drug war, the au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ ac­tion is the lat­est in what crit­ics have said is a cam­paign by Mr Duterte and his al­lies to si­lence op­po­si­tion to the drug crack­down, which has claimed thou­sands of lives and led rights groups to warn of crimes against hu­man­ity.

The House cut the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights al­lot­ment to 1,000 pe­sos (S$26) in the 3.8 tril­lion peso na­tional Bud­get Bill that it passed late on Tues­day.

The leader of the main op­po­si­tion group, Se­na­tor Fran­cis Pangili­nan of the Lib­eral Party, said in a state­ment: “This leads us on a di­rect path to dic­ta­tor­ship.”

The com­mis­sion is one of the in­de­pen­dent govern­ment bod­ies set up by the Con­sti­tu­tion to check the power of the ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ment.

The Bill has to be passed sep­a­rately by the Se­nate, and Mr Pangili­nan has vowed to block the House ver­sion, say­ing: “We will not al­low this to pass in the Se­nate even if this means the 2018 Bud­get will not be passed.”

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