MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights found an ally in Delfin Lorenza after the chief of the Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday said the CHR was created under the 1987 Charter and thus should be supported.
“Imbes na i-abolish nila ‘yan, they have to support. Kasi it’s a constitutional body na nand’yan. Ginawa ng batas ‘yan, Constitution pa ‘yan eh, di ba….’Yong head nga hindi mo p’wedeng tanggalin…” Lorenzana told reporters.
[Instead of abolishing it, they have to support it. Because it’s a constitutional body. It was created through a law, through the Constitution…Its head can’t be ousted.]
The DND secretary, a Mindanaoan and a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1973, said he had a smooth relationship with the CHR when he was still a field officer, including as commander of the Second Scout Ranger Battalion in Malagos, Davao, where he was instrumental in clearing the city of insurgents, sparrow units, and other criminal groups.
“When I was in the field, when I was a commander, I had a very healthy relationship with the CHR sa [in the] region,” adding that he had invited the commission’s officials and staffers to train soldiers on human rights.
According to Lorenzana, the CHR is needed to keep on eye on the police and the military.
He said the commission’s presence had helped authorities become more cautious because they knew they would be “liable to rights violations.”
“Sa government officials, especially the military and the police…medyo ingat sila sa ginagawa nila,”