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CHR: Were after abuses by govt, not crimes by ordinary


The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has finally set the record
straight at least among netizens of what their mandate really is.
In a widely circulated infographic posted on social media site Facebook
over the weekend, the CHR explains that its function us to be the
conscience of the government.

It is the CHRs duty to protect the citizens rights from abuses by the
state, such as the [civilian] government, police, and military, the CHR
said in Filipino, in a statement accompanying the graphic.
It is the mandate of the CHR to ensure that there will be no abuse or
negligence on the part of the government in protecting and upholding
the rights of all the citizens, especially those in the margins, the
statement added. Each branch of government has a duty to observe
and fulfill the rights and the needs of the citizenry. But if it is the state or
CHR: Were after abuses by govt, not crimes by ordinary
the government itself that violates or denies human rights, that is when
the CHR will act as the conscience of the government.
On the other hand, its the police who would handle crimes committed
by people who are not public officials, the CHR stressed: If it is a
civilian or private person who did the crime, such as killing or rape, it is
the Philippine National Police (PNP) who has the duty and mandate to
take action.

The CHR was created under Article 13, Section 17 of the 1987
Constitution and granted specific powers and functions under Sec. 18.
Despite being constitutionally mandated, however, the CHR still has to
struggle against longstanding public misconceptions about its
mandate, especially under the present administration which has
demonized human rights advocates for criticizing the war on drugs.
Everytime we talk to the media about this or that killing, look at social
media. We are immediately accused of being protectors of criminals,
CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz lamented, in a recent
interview with the Inquirer.

One senator even sent us a pile of cases challenging us to investigate

carnappings, kidnappings. And hes already a senator. They dont
understand that the CHR is not the police, he said.
Cadiz explained that under traditional definitions, human rights
violations are committed by the state. Theres another school of
thought that violations can be committed even by non-state actors, but
in terms of operationalizing the concept, as far as the mandate of the
CHR is concerned, most cases we are investigating involve alleged
violations of the state.

We are not against the government peace and order program, not
against going after drug syndicates. What we are against are the
shortcutting of processes, such that innocent people merely accused
are killed by the wayside in this campaign, Cadiz said.
We put pressure not for the purpose of harassing or embarrasing our
government, but for making them accountable so human rights
violations dont continue, Cadiz said.
CHR: Were after abuses by govt, not crimes by ordinary

Cadiz also noted that the government had the obligation to investigate
and even resolve the reported cases of summary killings.
Cadiz also debunked the self-defense argument of the police when
drug suspects are killed in their operations. Cadiz pointed out that by
law, the burden of proof shifts on the part of the police whenever it
invokes that circumstance of self-defense.

Under the laws, specifically, under the Revised Penal Code and the
Rules of Court, when you shoot someone and invoke self-defense, it is
you who has to prove [you acted in] self-defense. You cannot say you
should presume I acted in self-defense, Cadiz said.

The doctrine of presumption of regularity does not apply under the

circumstances of self-defense. The presumption of regularity is an
administrative doctrine that refers to ordinary [police operations]. Is it
[ordinary] to kill people? Cadiz asked, rhetorically. /atm