Disclaimer: Some parts of this write-up were taken from others’ points of view during a group discussion.
Unfortunately, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) today has a bad public reputation of alleged defending the (presumed) criminals. Every now and then I see peoples’ sarcastic and hate comments against CHR. People slums, slays and badmouthing the commission on social media and even in news. But do we know what is CHR? Are people just becoming too judgmental and prejudice that perhaps we need to know the duties, purposes and obligations mandated to CHR before we speak or criticize? Come to think of it, most people who sling mud at the CHR are either have no clue or completely do not care what the commission stands for.
CHR was created and mandated to investigate, promote and protect the human rights of the people regardless of the person’s status, once their rights have violated they will need help to defend their rights through the aides if CHR. In cases where the suspect was persecuted or killed (whether a thief, drug pusher, rapist, etc.) without due process, automatically it is CHR task to investigate (and I repeat, suspected or convicted criminals killed without due process) because that moment of persecuting or killing the suspect or criminal, right there and then his right to defend himself was stripped off. It is now job of CHR to enter into the loop, because this is their purpose why they were created. I hope people understand that whether it is suspected or presumed criminal (even the accused and proven criminal), they constitutionally still have rights and are still not guilty until sentenced. Do not hate the people behind CHR otherwise scrutinize the law who mandated them.
And you may ask how about the victims of these (suspected or not) criminals? To begin with, the victims are already having their rights carried out in so far as the criminals are being prosecuted. That very moment, the victims have the people of the Philippines and the government to defend them. The suspected criminals who were killed or mishandled are the ones that need their human rights to be defended because they're the ones in danger of not having them properly respected in the first place. And CHR is mandated to defend them - no other recourse but to do the mandate. Sounds ridiculous? But it is true. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not antagonist here but I am just trying to speak out my comprehension in the law, maybe I am mistaken. I am a pacifist person that hates violence and definitely I am not glorifying crimes and criminals. But when I see the violent reactions of netizens, I can’t help but to sympathize with the CHR because they were misjudged.
CHR is not anti-victims and it is not that they do not defend them but it is because their job is to give justice to the oppressed who in these cases are happened to be the persecuted suspects / criminals. It may looks like CHR is defending the criminals but actually not because it has to understand that CHR is not defending the act of the criminals over the victim but only the treatment over the criminals. It is not to acquit them from their crime. CHR will not justify why the victim was killed but rather will investigate the manner how the suspects and criminals were persecuted because this is what the law said (not by CHR but by law). And by the way, who is to say that the CHR doesn’t step in for victims? People see only the sensational news without knowing the continued battles of CHR against human trafficking and abuse (raped, battering). If we never heard of these is because media do not asked and / or media only shows the hot issues. Think of it: we do not see CHR intervenes in all crimes. For the record, CHR is not defending all accused suspects. This is because CHR will go into the scene only when the suspect was mishandled (worse if killed) without due process. If the suspect was handled properly then there is no argument. And who knows maybe CHR is helping the victims but we do not know because it is not reported in the news. Did media go the office of the commission to interview who, how many and what they have accomplished? CHR becomes incredibly hated because most people on social media like Facebook are uninformed (and maybe stupid) who treat Facebook posts as a Wikipedia articles. Unfortunately this people represent the majority that set mind-conditioning for the others until creates mob mentality.
Despite the negative impression on CHR, I would rather want the existence of the Commission on Human Rights because it is a good idea and I see the relevance of it. If you want to know what is life if without CHR, then look back the dark years of martial law and you will see what will happen if there is no CHR. I think most Filipinos don't know what human right really is unless or until (which we may not wish to happen) it will compromise their very own rights or any of their family and relatives. I am pretty sure if someone who kept badmouthing the CHR will need the help of the commission if ever happened they were framed or put in a disadvantageous position like the criminals, at which point they change their tune 180° and start begging for mercy - such a rather selfish view.