How did showbiz personalities in the House of Representatives weigh in on the controversial 1,000-peso budget for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)?
This was the question posed by netizens after the majority of lawmakers in Congress reduced the proposed P649.484-million budget of CHR to P1,000.
The reduction is tantamount to killing CHR.
Of the 297 lawmakers, 119 approved the motion of 1-SAGIP party-list Representative Rodante Marcoleta to vote for a one-thousand-peso budget for CHR.
The celebrity lawmakers are Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas Sixth District), Lucy Torres-Gomez (Leyte Fourth District), Alfred Vargas (Quezon City Fifth District), John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto (Manila Third District), and Monsour del Rosario (Makati City First District).
Not one of them counted among the 32 lawmakers who voted against the motion.
There is still no record of the complete list of lawmakers who approved CHR’s laughable budget as there has been no head count, which is required only when the initial viva voce vote of “aye” or “nay” is deemed inconclusive.
In an earlier report by GMA News Online, House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas was quoted as saying, “There is no such record as voting was by ayes and nays, which was ultimately done with members standing to vote, when the nays challenged the ruling of the chair that the ayes had it.”
But a partial list of lawmakers who voted against slashing CHR’s budget was released to news reporters and reposted by netizens.
None of the celebrity lawmakers appeared on the list of naysayers, which triggered the curiosity of netizens, including their friends and supporters.
It was Vilma who first issued a statement, saying she was on sick leave during the House of Representatives’ meeting yesterday, September 12.
But the congresswoman/movie actress stated that she opposes the house majority’s decision to give CHR a budget of P1,000.
Vilma gave her statement, in the form of an SMS message, through her eldest son, TV host-actor Luis Manzano.
My mom's clarificatory message regarding the CHR issue :) and yes, she always makes lambing with extra "s" ?????? pic.twitter.com/qM0gspyLTN— Luis Manzano (@luckymanzano) September 13, 2017
Lucy has yet to issue a statement, even as her Instagram followers leave comments, asking if she voted for or against the budget cut.
Alfred, Yul, and Monsour have also been quiet.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) tried to reach Lucy, Alfred, and Yul for comment through SMS and Facebook Messenger, but all three had not responded at press time.
INDIGNANT CELEBRITIES. Meanwhile, known entertainment personalities have been coming out to denounce the rout of CHR by Congress.
TV host Bianca Gonzalez tweeted that CHR's 1,000-peso budget is not even enough to pay for the agency's utilities alone.
So hindi maa-afford ng #CHR ang magbayad ng kuryente, tubig at internet ng isang buwan.— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) September 12, 2017
AY. Wala din palang masweswelduhan ni isang staff.
In his own Instagram story, actor Enchong Dee posted a statement calling politicians "useless," just hours after news spread that 119 lawmakers voted in favor of CHR's P1,000 budget.
Kapuso star Dingdong Dantes also expressed his indignation.
Buti si Rep. Atienza of Buhay--among many others--voted against it. Ay teka, 32 nga lang pala sila.???? How in the world can that be alright?— Dingdong Dantes (@iamdongdantes) September 12, 2017
TV5 stars Lourd de Veyra and Jun Sabayton urged fellow Filipinos to "demand for an explanation" from lawmakers who voted in favor of the measly budget.
Unhappy about the budget of the CHR?Call your district representative & demand an explanation.Write, email, fax. Do the same with senators.— Abi Valte (@Abi_Valte) September 13, 2017
Pera ng taong bayan yan, galing sa tax hindi niyo pera yan 119 na Kongresman. May karapatan ako sa desisyon na yan mga hayop.— junsabayton (@junsabayton) September 13, 2017
Sa mga 119 Kongresman, mas matutuwa kami sa inyo kung itinaas niyo ang sahod ng mga mangagawa ng 1000 Pesos.— junsabayton (@junsabayton) September 13, 2017
Pasig City councilor Vico Sotto, son of Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes and nephew of Senator Tito Sotto, did not only voice his disappointment, he also offered to donate a percentage of his monthly salary should CHR ultimately end up with a P1,000 budget in 2018.
I think most people don't understand the value of the CHR... PERO MGA CONGRESSMAN KAYO EH ANO BA ANG GUSTO NYONG MANGYARI SA BANSA NATIN ???????????? https://t.co/7LP8VmyjsL— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) September 12, 2017
In case this becomes a reality for 2018, I will donate a fixed % of my monthly salary to the CHR (assuming it's legal for me to do so)— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) September 12, 2017