The Commission on Human Rights is still a relevant agency despite the earlier threats of President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish the agency for being useless.
A survey by the University of Mindanao-Institute of Popular Opinion among 1,200 Davaoeños aged 18 and older revealed that while Davaoeños expressed support for the President’s efforts, they still find that the CHR is a relevant agency.
The survey was made in relation to the issue of the CHR bringing in UN rights expert Agnes Callamard to look into President Duterte’s drug war.
In response, the President ordered the withdrawal of the country from the Rome Statute purportedly to protect the country’s sovereignty.
The survey was conducted from April 17 to 22.
The study showed that 78% of the Davaoeños are aware of the decision of the UN CHR on the investigation of the alleged extra-judicial killings resulting from the drug war.
Among those who are aware, 60% or almost two-thirds do not favor the investigation.
Despite the clash of the administration, 47% of the survey participants said that CHR is still a relevant agency.
On the issue of the abolition of CHR, only 30% agreed. The UM-IPO said in a statement that this could be attributed to the awareness of the public on the constitutional body and, to some degree, their belief that it serves its purpose.
However, only 26% of the Davaoeños believe that the CHR protects the rights of all, including police, military, criminals, and insurgents.
According to Dr. Ma. Linda Arquiza, UM AVP for Research and Publication Center, the study implies that Davaoeños now are more critical thinkers since they still believe in the relevance of the commission even though they do not support the intervention of a foreign court on national issues.
President Duterte has been at loggerheads with CHR chair Chito Gaston, a former high official of the Liberal Party and an Aquino appointee.
In September last year, the House of Representatives ruled to give only P1,000 budget for the CHR, which critics claimed was an attempt to pressure the agency officials into resigning.
During his state of the nation address last year, President Duterte singled out the CHR as one of the agencies he wanted abolished.