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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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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

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Ngek Ngek
Guest

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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

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

mrericx
Guest

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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

mrericx: DU30 can not just abolish the CHR simply because it is a constitutional body.

Russell
Guest
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… Read more »
Ngek Ngek
Guest

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.

Russell
Guest
“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… Read more »
salagintong bukid
Guest

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!

ChinoF
Member

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.

mrericx
Guest

@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.

Niall R
Guest

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 ?

ChinoF
Member

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.

444Hyden007Toro9999.89889
Guest
444Hyden007Toro9999.89889
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 ,… Read more »
Sean Akizuki
Guest

I wrote a similar article somewhere in the past to stress my point:

It’s More Than Time To Abolish The Commission On “Human Rights” FOREVER

Propaganda Boy
Guest
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… Read more »
d_forsaken
Guest

A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Klara
Guest

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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

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.

Propaganda Boy
Guest

@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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

@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.

mrericx
Guest

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!

Propaganda Boy
Guest

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!?

patrizia
Guest

chr is a big joke and waste of public funds! it is self-and-friends-serving and must be dissolved, abolished!

Propaganda Boy
Guest

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.

Propaganda Boy
Guest

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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

@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.

Propaganda Boy
Guest
@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,… Read more »
Propaganda Boy
Guest

@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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest
@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.
Propaganda Boy
Guest

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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

@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 ?

Propaganda Boy
Guest

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.

Ngek Ngek
Guest

@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 ?

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