CHR President Chito Gascon succumbs to Covid-19

GOODBYE. The president of the Human Rights Commission (CHR), José Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon, died at the age of 57 after his fight against Covid-19, his family announced on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Gascon was appointed president of the CHR in 2015. (Photo by Chito Gascon Facebook)

MANILA – The president of the Human Rights Commission (CHR), José Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon, has died following his fight against the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), his family announced on Saturday. He was 57 years old.

“His friend mong Laban, his Covid pa tayo na talo! I love you Kuya! RIP Chito Gascon (Of all the fights you have led, it is Covid who has defeated you! I love you Kuya. Rest in peace Chito Gascon), ”his brother Miguel said in a Facebook post.

Gascon was appointed president of the CHR in 2015.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia in a statement described Gascon’s leadership as inspiring and empowering, where he made staff and fellow human rights defenders understand the impact and value of their work. work, especially for those who have the least.

“In a time of unprecedented human rights challenges, President Chito has courageously and firmly supported the constitutional mandate of the Commission,” said de Guia.

“Amid the relentless attacks on the institution and against him personally, he was unwavering and unwavering in his struggle for the universal values ​​of freedom, truth and justice which are essential to the pursuit of human rights. He was fearless in the fight for human rights, the rule of law and democracy out of deep respect for equal rights and the dignity of all.

She said the Commission en banc (CeB) would continue to operate with Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit as the officer in charge.

In a tweet, the former spokesperson for the Supreme Court, lawyer Théodore Te, described Gascon as a “human rights giant”.

“President Chito Gascon, rest in power. You fought the good fight. You have stood firm and held firm. You have led the fight against the enemy. You were a human rights giant. The forest is more bare because of your fall, but the seeds you plant will bear fruit, ”Te said.

The European Union’s ambassador to the Philippines, Luc Veron, also shared his thoughts, saying the delegation was in shock at Gascon’s death.

“(The EU delegation in Manila) is in shock at the passing of President Chito Gascon, our friend and partner in the defense of human rights and dignity for all in the Philippines. Our thoughts and prayers to Chito’s family, RHC members and staff. Chito Gascon’s vision will live on, ”said Veron.

French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz said she would remember Gascon as a “good friend” of France by defending shared values ​​on democracy and human rights.

“Chito Gascon courageously dedicated his life to the defense of human rights and democracy in the Philippines. He was a good friend of France in the defense of these shared values. I offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at CHR, ”Boccoz said in a tweet.

Gascon was a political activist and social reformer, with work focusing on human rights, democracy and governance for more than three decades.

Before being appointed president of the CHR, he was a member of the Human Rights Victims Compensation Council, the body responsible for administering recognition and reparation programs for victims of the martial law regime. , where he occupied a rank equivalent to that of a judge of the Court of Appeal.

Gascon was also the youngest member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution and of the 8th Philippine Congress during the tenure of President Corazon C. Aquino.

“Since martial law, President Gascon has continued his unfailing advocacy in the field of human rights; access to justice and the rule of law; transparency and accountability initiatives; political and electoral reforms; peace and conflict transformation; popular participation and civic education; and state building in the context of democratic transitions ”, we read in his profile at the CHR.

Gascon graduated from the University of the Philippines with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, and later obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from the same university. He holds a master’s degree in international law (human rights, peace law and international dispute resolution) from the University of Cambridge.

DND and AFP offer condolences to Gascon parents

The Department of National Defense (DND) offered its condolences to the family of the President of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chito Gascon.

“At the Ministry of National Defense, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of CHR President Jose Luis Martin ‘Chito’ Gascon,” DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

Lorenzana said that the DND recognizes the excellent work done by the CHR under Gascon in human rights laws.

“He will be missed. May he rest in peace,” added the head of DND.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also extend their deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late CHR president.

“His tireless work as a human rights defender and the watchful eyes of the CHR have pushed AFP to defend and respect the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law,” said the door. – AFP speech, army colonel Ramon Zagala. (with report by Priam F. Nepomuceno / PNA)

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