Alvarez calls social media critics of CHR budget 'fools'
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday called critics, especially those online, "g*go" for slamming the decision of the House of Representatives to give the Commission on Human Rights a measly budget for 2018.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted 119 to 32 to give the CHR, one of the strongest voices against President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs, a budget of only P1,000, a far cry from the proposed P678 million.
The speaker, known for his colorful and brash language, said that they were accountable to the people in their districts and not to "some group."
"Yung mga nagsasabi na yun, mga gago yun. Dapat nilang alalahanin na kami, kami yung hinalal ng taong bayan doon sa distrito namin," Alvarez told DZMM radio.
He added, "Kami, wala kaming pakialam Ted kung mayroon isang grupo diyan na magalit sa amin, ang importante sa amin, yung ginagampanan namin ang trabaho namin bilang representantes."
Alvarez also blasted Chito Gascon, the CHR chief, and said that his mind was "twisted" over his claim that politics was behind the budget decision.
"Yun talaga… tabingi talaga ang utak noon. Paanong pinupulitika? Magpakita muna siya ng trabaho niya," the speaker said.
Alvarez said that Gascon had been selective in conducting investigations into human rights violations, accusing him of protecting only the rights of his allies and criminals.
"Malinaw na malinaw na naging… chairman din yata yan ng Liberal Party noong araw… ay yung karapatang pantao lang ng Liberal, yung mga kapartido niya, yun ang pinapangalagaan niya, hindi yung karapatang pantao ng sambayanan," claimed the House leader.
The speaker blasted people on social media who criticized their decision on the CHR budget, saying they were not their constituents.
"Hindi naman po yung social media, hindi rin po yung regular ano, yung media, kundi yung distrito po namin at yung sambayanan," Alvarez said.
Right after the voting, many social media users erupted in anger and demanded to know how their representatives voted.
This prompted some members of the House to respond and explain their absence or vote.
Gascon, whose head had been used as a condition for Alvarez and the House to restore the agency's budget, described the decision as a "whimsical and capricious display of vindictiveness."
He said that he had hoped that he could convince the leadership of the lower house to adequately finance the operations of the CHR for 2018.
The House decision was also not unconstitutional despite fears that it was effectively abolishing the CHR for its meager budget, according to Alvarez.
"Binibigyan kami ng Saligang Batas para gawin yun, yun ang isang power ng House of Representatives," he said.