Dear Congressman Gasataya

Posted by watchmen
September 18, 2017
Posted in OPINION

One doesn’t have to be a genius to understand that reducing the annual budget for Commission in Human Rights down to a measly 1,000 pesos is basically power-tripping.
It is a manifestation of a famous line in political communications “You’re either with us, or against us.” And the CHR is obviously against this administration.
The Duterte administration couldn’t be more of a bully, what with the resignation of CHR Chair Chito Gascon as the condition set by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to restore the initial CHR budget.
All this is a deliberate attempt to cut the CHR off at the knees.
Worse, Aguirre’s statements are impossibly stupid. Sighting CHR’s silence in the murders committed by drug users, deaths of soldiers while at war with Communist rebels among others, as proof of the one-sidedness of the CHR. One could only wonder what merit did he have for being appointed as Justice Secretary and how is it that he cannot identify on his own the difference between crimes, and human rights violations?
The Congress couldn’t release the names of those who voted for and against it because they counted with “ayes” and “nays”, not with names. But Congressman Greg Gastaya of the Lone District of Bacolod is not among the 32 congressmen who voted against the said budget.
When I first heard the news of the 1k CHR Budget, I looked up the names of the people that we voted to represent us. I thought, voting for such measure is tantamount to betrayal of public trust. Any congressman who voted for it failed to represent the people as they should be ideally represented.
It doesn’t matter if this president is so popular right now that whatever whims he may have should become law. What should matter is knowing that if you let them cut the CHR at its knees, you would let this administration take down the pillars of our democracy brick by brick. And one day we will wake up and we won’t anymore be able to pin down which part exactly of this grand spectacle did we let go of our democracy.
Tell us, Congressman, what reason did you have for the decision that you made?
I am very disappointed that you did not stand with what’s right. You stood with what’s popular without realizing that what’s popular isn’t always what lasts./WDJ

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