As the investigation of the unfortunate murder of Christine Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu rolls through. I couldn’t help but read through the vast numbers of threaded comments and discussions regarding this topic. From news sites to individual posts of our countrymen. It seems that a large majority of them calls for the CHR to investigate the killings and charge the killers. True enough, the CHR can investigate the killings but they are far more limited as their mandate may be a little more different than the regular enforcement units such as the PNP and NBI to investigate and aid in the prosecution of suspects. Now let’s look into this quite more deeply as we begin to debunk long-held DDS belief which really is poisoning people’s understanding of how Philippine justice system works or at least how CHR works?
If there’s a crime should I call CHR or PNP?
Well, this is pretty basic. According to the Commission on Human Rights website. Its main aim is to conduct investigations on human rights violations against marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the society, involving civil and political rights. It also mentioned that it’s accredited NHRI, fully complying with the Paris Principles adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995. As an NHRI, the Commission upholds six fundamental characteristics — independence, pluralism, broad mandate, transparency, accessibility, and operational efficiency.
So simply put. CHR investigates crimes perpetrated by government forces or authorities which violated a citizens civil and political rights. It does not investigate almost any crime in between private citizens such as rape-cases as that would have been the primary mandate of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation which is under the Department of Justice.
Should there be a burglary in your neighborhood or someones being robbed nearby? Or even perhaps a snatcher on the run. Don’t call the CHR as they wouldn’t be of any assistance to you. You need to call the police immediately.
Why do we need to emphasize this? The reason being is that there are still hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who don’t really understand the mandate of CHR and thus resorts into petty ad-hominem attacks generalizing human-rights efforts as pro-criminal. Which is absolutely wrong in so many levels. The school of thought permeates deeply into Philippine society with the use of fake-news and memes designed to misinform and invoke an emotional response to readers. Such as photos of young children being raped and then text insinuating that ‘CHR’ is silent about the issue. Which is particularly inappropriate and out of context.
Here are some of the comments I’ve found in the comment section.
These are just some of the comments and from it, you can see that many people have so far been maliciously brainwashed and misinformed by Pro Duterte bloggers and content creators regarding the mandate of CHR to lessen its public support base and allow the Duterte’s relentless policy of mass-slaughter unchecked. This is something that CHR needs to relentlessly look into and investigate state-sanctioned killings.
It’s not that I don’t sympathize with the victim and or her immediate bereaved family but we must trust that CHR is actually doing its job in investigating state-sanctioned atrocities against the people. I know you might easily dismissed their work on issues like this but if it comes to the point where its a family member of yours get’s killed by police forces and a packet of shabu is planted along with a gun is planted on him — then you can truly appreciate the mandate of the CHR.