Photo by Boy Santos/Philippine Star
We in Karapatan offer our condolences to the bereaved family, friends, colleagues, and comrades of Commission on Human Rights chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon as we join them in mourning his untimely passing this morning due to COVID-19.
Chito’s tenure as chairperson came at a crucial time of massive challenges and worsening attacks on human rights in the Philippines. He and the Commission faced various threats for their work in fulfilling their mandate, especially in openly denouncing the Duterte administration’s sham and bloody drug war.
Despite these attacks, Chito stood with us and other human rights defenders in our calls for justice. He opened the Commission’s halls to the victims of human rights violations, political prisoners, and their kin as he closely worked with independent human rights organizations for dialogues and reports.
Whenever he could, Chito would join us in press conferences and solidarity gatherings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he made sure to send us messages of solidarity in our webinars and online activities to support and assert our urgent calls for accountability.
With Chito’s death, the country lost a courageous human rights defender. Nonetheless, we vow to carry on with the fight he left, and we will honor his memory by continuing to defend and uphold people’s rights and the struggle for just and lasting peace in the Philippines. Rest in power, Chito. Padayon!
Elisa Tita Lubi
Karapatan Secretary General
Karapatan Deputy Secretary General