The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights is a waste of space and should be abolished

Put in the form of a more confronting question, the debate around the point (if any) of having a “Commission on Human Rights” (CHR) becomes a bit more clear…

If the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights were to disappear tomorrow, would there be any significant consequences to the average Filipino?

I posed the question several times over Twitter and did not get any convincing answers — not even from the CHR Twitter account handler him/herself. The only thing of cosmetic substance that routinely emerges from the Philippine brains trust is the rather lame argument that the 1987 Constitution “mandates” its existence. In essence, the fate of the CHR hangs on to the legitimacy of a piece of paper and not on an actual independent value proposition to the Filipino.

Indeed, it is quite possible that the creation of the “need” for a human rights “watchdog” back in 1987 when the Cory Aquino’s Constitution was ratified was an overcompensation riding on the post-“revolution” euphoria of the time — a time when Filipinos fully embraced, hook line and sinker, the notion that the Philippines failed to prosper because of a lack of “human rights” vigilance. It’s sort of like how a jilted girl suddenly becomes a man-hater on the basis of one unfortunate blip in her lovelife.

Functionally, however, the CHR is no more than an expensive lobby group funded by Filipino taxpayers. Its main tasks collectively amount to no more than issuing commentary about anything and everything to do with “human rights” that gets mentioned by the chatterati and, perhaps, the odd schmoozing with its counterparts in other countries courtesy of taxpayer-funded junkets every now and then. It does not enforce anything nor exercise any administrative power over anyone. A Supreme Court ruling in 1991 confirmed that “the Commission did not possess the power of adjudication, and emphasized that its functions were primarily investigatory.”

The idea that “human rights” will no longer be upheld in the Philippines if the CHR disappears is nonsensical. “Human rights” are enshrined in Article III (a.k.a. the “Bill of Rights”) of Cory’s Constitution — which means Filipinos are already (1) protected from future legislation that may violate its tenets and (2) protected by existing laws enacted to uphold these tenets.

Because there already exists a body of laws built around the Bill of Rights, most “human rights violations” are already likely within scope of existing law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute. Indeed, when it comes to “investigating” so-called “human rights violations”, the CHR is effectively just a middleman — essentially a waste of time and space. Indeed it is likely because of this crisis of relevance at a functional or administrative level that the CHR has become hopelessly politicised — and has degenerated to nothing more than an outlet for “human rights” sloganeering today.

The CHR mandate is actually quite presumptuous. It exists under the assumption that, left to their own devices, the entire criminal justice system of the Philippines — the police and the courts — will fail to uphold the spirit of the Bill of Rights in the course of its operation. Furthermore, it exists on the basis of a blanket suspicion that executives and legislators of the Philippine government will effect measures to contravene the Bill of Rights. In short, the CHR’s existence presumes criminal intent in the Philippine government that justifies existence of a “human rights watchdog”. On that basis is propped the lofty “cause” of the CHR as “guardians of the guardians”.

In short, the Commission on Human Rights is not only a redundant organisation, it is a non-sensical one. This is the reason it behaves and positions itself erratically on the political landscape — because it lacks a sensible mission and relies on posturing to maintain a semblance of relevance.

One could actually forgive even some senators who are not clear on what the CHR actually is or what it stands for — because not knowing who or what they are is actually of no consequence to anyone, not even the voters.

Indeed, as far as the key focus of its public relations effort goes, the CHR defines itself primarily around what it is not rather than what it is. As it had tweeted ad infinitum “we are not a law enforcement agency”. It goes further to affirm the blanket assumption that underpins its efforts — that the government, overall, is up to no good…

Ang CHR ay hindi pulis. Ayon sa Konstitusyon, mandato nito na bantayan ang gobyerno sa pagkakataon ng pang-aabuso sa mga karapatang pantao.

Translated to English: “The CHR is not the police. According to the Constitution, its mandate is to guard the government anticipating instances where it seeks to abuse human rights.”

To give credit to whoever composed this tweet, it neatly encapsulates the long-winded message of this article — that, like the venerable 1990s sitcom Seinfeld, the CHR is essentially a comedy show about nothing.

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54 Comments on “The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights is a waste of space and should be abolished”

  1. The only way to abolish the Commission on Human Rights withouteu violence or civil war is a referendum for the Filipino People to choose
    to return to the 1973 Constititution
    without Amendment 6 with a parliamentary government, the Cory Constitution or Duterte’s Federal Government whigh guarantee a BBL.

  2. Duterte’s Federal Government which guarantees a BBL is the sugesti recipe of a civil war worst than the abolition of CHR.

  3. It is the right time to abolish the CHR, its a waste of taxpayer’s money & it’s VERY partisan type of government agency (in other words, namumulitika na rin ang taga-CHR). There are human rights NGOs in our country that will do the job if there’s a suspicion on human rights violation in our country and the best example is the Volunteers Against Crime & Corruption (VACC), they’re more trusted than CHR.

  4. Interesting comment: “The only thing of cosmetic substance that routinely emerges from the Philippine brains trust is the rather lame argument that the 1987 Constitution “mandates” its existence.”

    Here the author points out that just because something is mandated in the 1987 Constitution doesn’t mean it’s wise. I agree that it’s a lame excuse. The problem is that the same people who oppose the CHR calling the Constitutional provision a lame excuse are also the people who promote xenophobia against foreigners, preventing them from owning real estate or a business, and they use the fact that it’s “mandated” in the 1987 Constitution as a lame excuse to justify their anti-foreigner prejudices. It’s one of many irrational double standards that Filipinos have.

    Perhaps if the Constitution actually protected human rights for everyone, instead of arrogantly promoting and mandating anti-foreigner xenophobia, the Philippines would be a much better place to live, and everyone, especially Filipinos, would have better job opportunities when foreigners are allowed to start a business and hire lots of Filipinos.

    But the government doesn’t want you to be well off, they want you to stupidity blame foreigners for the problems caused by bad government, because it’s easier to control you and tax you if you can be made to hate foreigners. That way you don’t notice the corruption in government, and even cheer it on when it’s against innocent foreigners. No wonder many foreigners call the Philippines an Idiotocracy! It’s because of your irrational double standards.

    1. @Russel: Indeed, we can also argue that the sections of the Constitution on foreign ownership are also redundant as the tenets of the Bill of Rights provide for a fair and competitive legal landscape to pursue happiness and prosperity in a free market.

      Interesting to consider that the common denominator shared by the the clause that mandates the CHR and the clauses that bar foreign ownership could be traced back to the interest groups that happened to be in close orbit around Cory Aquino when this charter was framed in 1987.

    2. Russell: The gargantuan problem we are having now like the oxymoronic CHR which was created by Cory as her mindless overreaction to abuse of government security forces all leads to the 1987 Constitution which hijacked the 1973 Constitution to usher in the rule of new oligarchy and old Marcos cronies and dummies who coveniently shifted loyalty to the Aquinos to protect their business interests and to take advantage of the constitutional economic provision.

  5. “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise… Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
    —John Stuart Mill

  6. CHR? just go back to the 73 constitution that will do it. they’re no where to be found during the mendiola and luisita farmer’s massacre to name a few. it’s a yellow dynasty protector. the 73 constitution will scrapped the yellow dynasty and its mechanism totally. the pilipinos need to move on no more chitchating again and again nonsense. so what if president duterte following the footsteps of marcos, it’s love for our nation. 30 years without accomplishments WOW!

  7. I googled and saw that the toothlessness of human rights “commissions” is a problem even in India. Without the power to charge people in court, the CHR can only scream, but not kick. It’s basically something made for “feel-good” purposes, but without actually achieving anything. Did someone already use the term “white elephant?” So either they finally give the CHR some teeth, or off it goes.

    1. @ChinoF: The CHR is like a boy scout badge — a sort of token administrative agency to demonstrate to the UNCHR that the government is “serious” about “human rights”. In effect it’s like, “hey, I’m serious about ‘human rights’ coz I’m wearing a shirt with a ‘human rights’ logo/symbol printed on it”.

    2. @ChinoF you could check this one on some of the ironic flaws of the current 1987 Constitution, especially on the CHR thing which is unfortunately that agency is a LAME DUCK agency.

  8. Benign0 rather undermines his argument by setting out the CHR’s mandate. He believes it is based on the premise of criminal intent by the government. How many articles in this blog alone are based on that exact premise ?

    It may well be an ineffectual talking shop, run for the benefit of its members, but if that was the sole criterion for abolishing it, how many government departments (and Congress ? ) could also be abolished ?

  9. Mericx, I saw that Filipiknow article before. Indeed, that was on my mind when I was mentioning the CHR’s toothlessness. And, indeed again, Benign0 made a good analogy there, CHR is little more than a glorified badge. Or a sounding board.

  10. The Commission of Human Rights is a toothless government agency, squandering our taxpayers’ money. People appointed in that agency are like ghost employees…they do nothing. What had they done, when there were Hacienda Luisita massacres, the Mendiola massacres, the proliferation od Shabu drugs, etc..

    Any citizen of the Philippines, has also Human Rights, not to be mugged and killed , by Shabu Drug Addicts.
    Or, their children and relatives have Human Rights, not to be hooked and addicted by the illegal drug , Shabu, sold by the Leila de Lima/Mar Roxas/Aquino Drug Cartel.

    The victims of the Typhoon Yolanda , have the Human Rights, to demand that the Typhoon Yolanda Fund, destined and allocated, to help them; that disappeared under Mar Roxas watch.. must be given to them…

    I have the Human Rights, that my OFW taxes and fees, must not be used as DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel Bribery, or any form of graft and corruption…

    The Commision of Human Rights is now being used by the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, to remove Pres. Duterte thru impeachment; and let that Fake Vice President Leni Robredo, take over as President. This was the Plan B, of the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, to grab back the power they lost.

    So they cheated thru the SMARTMAGIC and HOCUS PCOS, in the 2016 election…resulting in the election of that Fake Vice President, Leni Robredo..

    The investigation of the Duterte’s Extra Judicial killings was a failure…Plan B was a dud !

    1. Sean Akizuki,

      It will be much better if the government is going to abolish CHR and bring back Philippine Constabulary back to life but to bring back authoritarian regime, government and state to have discipline more of that in China, but less of that in Singapore and North Korea, with punitive if not barbaric rules no greater than North Korea or Singapore. Others want torture back to torture dissidents critical of our government.

      To be an authoritarian means to favor obedience at the expense of personal freedom.

      All we want is to favor obedience and discipline to the authoritarian leaders and governments at the expense of personal freedom, civil liberties. All we want is nondemocracy like that in China, but not in Singapore or North Korea, since Han Dynasty.

      We are better off living in authoritarianism like Ferdinand Marcos got in thesis for 1973 Constitution.

  11. Remember how forming perceptions directs politics.. “It doesn’t have to be true, it just needs to look like it.”
    A redundant agency like the CHR could be useless to ordinary folks, but it’s certainly useful to somebody’s agenda.

  12. A referendum whether or not to go back to the 1973 Constitution without Amendment 6 which Cory hijacked to protect the post-Marcos oligarchs she created is the only solution.

    It will remove the CHR and prevent DU30 Federalism which guarantees the BBL, the surest route to a civil war.

    1. @Ngek Ngek, I know that

      It will remove CHR and abolish 1987 Constitution is the surest route of ultranationalism and anti-globalism so we want police and military to openly persecute and prosecute dissidents whatsoever.

      1. @Propaganda Boy: I am not an ultranationalist nor anti globalist. The globalism( unbridled free enterprise) promoted by Soros is what is evil. I welcome globalism but not the Soros kind which undermines and weakens sovereign states succumbing to the greed of private enterprise.

        Having said my piece what the is your definition of an anti globalist and an ultranationalist?

        Fyi, I am not pro Marcos( FEM). The reality is that those post FEM power wielders are worse than him and that they were instrumental in making the Marcos rose like a Phoenix from historical condemnation.

  13. Not only CHR but Pres. Duterte is also plan to abolish PCGG as well, that agency is a long overdue & they only focus on bringing back the hidden wealth of the Marcos family but other corrupt officials they don’t!

    1. Excuse me. So, are you a pro-Marcos loyalist, mrericx?

      What’s wrong? Do we want Marcos-Style Crony Capitalism to prosper after abolition of PCGG and CHR?

      Do we want authoritarian state like Marcos did it in 1973 Constitution?

      Why do we want self-reliance like that in North Korea?

      Why do we want to bring back Marcos New Society like Hitler’s Nazi, Suharto’s Orde Baru, Kim’s Juche and Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, Cambodia’s Year One, and Brunei’s Negara Zikir!?

    1. patrizia,

      you are a pro-Marcos loyalist. Make sure write against aquinos and yellows. Admire Marcos, Philippine Constabulary, Right-Wing ideology, New Society, Republican Party, Reagan, Trump.

  14. Ngek Ngek, mrericx and patrizia

    It would be better IF we want to return the 1935 constitution with 1973 features, with hyperpresidential authoritarianism, 120-seat Batas pambansa, no congress, a new one and only one-party state without oppositions, anti-federalism, pro-ultranationalism/nationalism, far-right ideology to fight off muslims/communists, constitutional authoritarianism, return of Philippine Constabulary, pro-authoritarianism, anti-democracy, ideology to worship the late Ferdinand Marcos as the future god no greater or higher than God, ultra conservatism, anti-imigration like Trump did, and abolition of CHR and PCGG.

    It will better off nondemocratic like that in China since Han dynasty, if not Singapore or North Korea.

    1. @Propaganda Boy. You must be stupid if you still do not know that the Marcos cronies had turned balimbing licking the vagina of Cory right after Marcos was removed.

      1. @Ngek Ngek,

        seriously, Cory Aquino is rotting in hell and Marcos Loyalists are worshipping, deifying, glorifying the late Ferdinand Marcos, treating him like a god for his golden achievements like Hitler, Mussolini, Lee Kuan Yew and Rightists.

        Marcos Loyalists have their own right to glorify their late leader Ferdinand Marcos as they adore, admire, worship and adulate him very much as long as they want.

        So you want to return the old days of Martial law?

        You want to be critical of dilawans, Communists, yellows and Aquinos and you want to be loyal to KBL, New Society, Nazi, Marcoses, Trumps, far Right-Wing, and USA Republican Party and homophobes?

      2. @Ngek Ngek,

        I am not that stupid. Do we want our government to censor and close down the website? Otherwise it will become strict and authoritarian if we criticize that.

        1. @Propaganda Boy. Ok you are not stupid but some kind of mental lydia challenged, I suppose. Do you know or you do not know that the 1973 Constitution was drafted by duly elected ConCon delagates, the Constitution that Marcos hijacked which was challenged in Javellana vs. Executive Secretary, just like the 1973 Constitution which was hijacked also by Cory to guarantee the country as the guinea pig of an unbridled free enterprise of liberalization, privatization, deregulation favorit only her newly created oligarchs like Babalu ( not the palengkerong Renato Reyes) and the balimbing Marcos cronies and dummies like Lucio Tan.

  15. Yet, it will have pro-censorship, pro-autarky and no free market for foreigners to enter, no freedom, no free speech, to that in China, not in North Korea, or Singapore.

  16. @Propaganda Boy. What kind of logic do you have that going back to the 1973 Constitution without Amendment 6 for DU30 to abuse is glorifying Marcos ?

    1. I understand it! I want the logic is that Marcos Loyalists want to bring back the 1973 Constitution without any amendments whatsoever to glorify, worship and admire Marcos forever.

  17. @Propaganda Boy. What kind of Constitution do you want? The 1987 Constitution created by Cory whom you say is already routing in Hell or the Federal Constitution of DU30 which guarantees a BBL ?

  18. @Propaganda Boy. Do you know that the Aquinos are the very reason the Marcoses rose like a Phoenix from political oblivion?

    Had the mother and son Aquino knew how to govern this country well, Marcos and his loved ones would have been like Racuyal in the eyes of the great majority of Filipinos except to the Ilocanos Marcos pampered just like what Binay the Robinhood of Makati did to his constituents.

    And if you still accuse me as a Marcos loyalist, I suggest you go see a psychiatrist.

    1. Go tell either way DIO, Ilda or benign0 yourself.

      Many of them are wishing to go back to the days of Marcosian Martial Law where Filipinos were disciplined and were afraid to break the law as they wanted to respect and fear the law of Marcos golden years.

  19. @Propaganda Boy. What makes you think that the 1973 Constitution without Amendment 6 is strict and authoritarian?

  20. yes yes yes we’re loyal to KBL ‘cuz we experience peace and order with Marcos no doubt. not like the new generations now not even born during those days all they have in mind is brainwashed by the yellows you see they even want to include their brainwashing in the curriculum. Marcos is number 1 and he won victoriously the fight with the yellows which send down the philippines miserably. ‘still don’t see it?’

  21. go president Duterte bring us back the Marcos way and even if he pinpoints to the people who to vote in the coming elections we will follow.

  22. If I accuse others as Marcos loyalists, I’d probably be tagged as dilawan, drug user or pusher, communist, gay, liberal, democrat and anti-Semite.

  23. @Propaganda Boy. I know of course that many writers or commenters of this blog admire Marcos to a fault not because Marcos was a faultless leader but mainly because his successor was a thousand times worse.

    Voltaire was famous for his defense of another’s right to say what he wants to say but Marcos may have idolized him more for his chilling statement that the best government is one rules by a benevolent dictator ship with occasional assasination. In this regard, Marcos and DU30 are no different.

  24. @Propaganda Boy. You want to go back to the 1935 Constitution ? hehehe

    Did you know that the Commander-in-Chief provision of the Constitution paved the way for Marcos to declare Martial Law by encouraging street protests, infiltrating the protest movements with government agents and then faking the ambush of Enrile ?

  25. Jesus! First of all @Propaganda Boy, I’m NOT a pro-Marcos loyalist. And don’t you worry, if PCGG are gone, there’s a Hotline 8888 to report a corrupt officials and it’ll directly report to Malacanang which is much better than that agency which they focus more on recovering the Marcos hidden wealth but NOT ALL of our corrupt officials in this land which is very similar to Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB, you could google it). And if you think or discover that the Marcos family are still doing their corruption practice just like their father before, then you know where you could call just like what’s happening to Gov. Imee Marcos who are now facing a tax case on the Tobacco Excise Tax fraud.

    And finally to @Ngek Ngek, do you think that you like a Fascist & Totalitarian type of constitution in our country just like in the Marcos era & the Third Reich Germany? I DON’T THINK SO!!! Those Fascist & Totalitarian and even Communism & Democracy are all Bull****, obsolete & IT’S NOT GOOD FOR THIS MODERN WORLD (a post 9/11 world). Maybe our country needs a modern & hybrid type of political system that we could see a greater & REAL change, having a GOOD GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY in our government by becoming a NON-PARTISAN rather than a Multi-party type of government & freedom to the Filipino people but with greater responsibility and control as in freedom with check & balance rather than uncontrolled one. We should try this newest political system called DEMARCHY (or also known as Lottocracy) as an alternative to all of the old & bad political systems that I mentioned it above & this is the BEST POLITICAL REVOLUTION ever.

    You should search more on Demarchy on google & some of the political books regarding this newest political system, and I tell you, it’ll work very well in our country if we will become the 1st Demarchy state in Asia & it might follow soon in some of our Asian neighbors like China, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, etc. if it’ll be successful.

    1. @mrericx. The best government to me is a government where abuse of power of the governor/s elected or given power by the government is punished promptly and severely where the practice of the negative form of the Golden Rule is the very foundation of human behavior that those who violate it should be given Lex Taliones and more as a deterrent.

      If there are people who behead individuals because they want to implement strict adherence to their religious beliefs, then let us chop their private parts like sisig, cooked and fed to dogs or pigs so that they can not use it on those beautiful dozens of virgins waiting for them in paradise.

      1. @NgekNgek,

        You think the best government is the abuse of power after abolition of CHR. Take a look in North Korea because there is no civil liberty or CHR where military can torture and abuse dissidents and critics of Kim Dynasty or Juche, just like the way it was in Marcos era of 1972, WW2 era of 1942, and PH-USA war of 1900. And they want the government and military to have total and complete control over private and public aspects of life so there will be no freedom but propaganda to admire or adulate Marcos or Kim Dynasty.

    2. mrericx,

      Why not tell Benign0 and Ilda or DIO. Meaning we want authoritarian and autocratic, if not democratic government to be better to work well in the Philippines, it would be better with removal of economy restrictions like that in Deng regime. The better change is one-party state authoritarian (NOT TOTALITARIAN) government (this is what late FM once said in his thesis) rather than multi-party type of democracy. Just like that in China, that has one and only party state.

      The late Lee Kuan Yew once said that the country needs to develop more discipline than democracy. This will apply to developing countries. Yet we have flawed yellow democracy be dilawans who want oligarchy and freedom. Yet our democracy is not ready. It would no longer be ready in the future if it changes. We wished that government will control private aspect of life and to curtail and control freedom just like that in modern day Russia and Deng-type China.

      Link

      Link

  26. @Propaganda Boy. Read care fully what you have written then read again what I have written. I hope it’s not a typo error on your part otherwise I have to tell you that you are putting words into my mouth and that is obviously being dishonest.

  27. @Propaganda Boy, Why would I tell DIO, Ilda or benignO ? It is you who is being dishonest to me! It is you who is putting words into my mouth!

    Unless you have been ordered or requested by the 3 people for you to speak to me in their behalf, then tell me if so, ok?

      1. @mericx, I really never expect DIO, Ida or beningO to reply because my comments and reactions are directed @ Propaganda Boy.

        Besides, I have been in this blog reacting and commenting for sometime and I feel they only react to people they know personally or people who share the cause. They are of the same breed as Jose Alejandro, articulate and elitist.

  28. @Ngek Ngek, I am not saying that is dishonest.

    @DIO & @Ilda,

    It would have been better if CHR and PCGG were abolished by bringing back Philippine Constabulary to scrap 1987 Aquino-dilawan-infested Constitution to reestablish 1973 Constitution witout Amendment no. 6 to replace multi-party style democracy with one-party near-totalitarian state and authoritarian government and its return to abuse to power and power of propaganda are to admire, glorify and adulate Marcos like Hitler/Stalin/Kim Dynasty for exchange of civil liberties, political freedoms and personal freedoms.

  29. that’s the way to do it chopchop the tentacles of the yellow dynasty so they won’t choke the pilipinos to death.

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