It is with deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of Chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon. He passed away early this Saturday morning, 9 October 2021, due to Covid-19 complications. He was 57.
At a time of unprecedented human rights challenges, Chair Chito courageously and steadfastly upheld the constitutional mandate of the Commission. Amidst the unrelenting attacks against the institution and to him personally, he was unwavering and unflinching in fighting for the universal values of freedom, truth, and justice that are essential in the pursuit of human rights. He was undaunting in the fight for human rights, rule of law, and democracy out of deep reverence to the equal rights and dignity of all.
His leadership in the Commission has inspired and nurtured a culture of enabling, empowering, and safe environment that move CHR personnel to always serve with genuine compassion or Serbisyong may Malasakit, utmost integrity, and excellence. He impressed upon the CHR personnel and fellow human rights workers the impact and value of our work especially to those who have it least.
CHR will continue the human rights work with equal fervor and sincerity that Chair Chito exemplified in his work. The Commission en banc (CeB) will continue to function with Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit as the Officer-in-Charge. As a National Human Rights Institution that embodies the principle of pluralism, the CeB comprise of Commissioners from diverse background, advocacy, and human rights expertise to be able to represent and give voice to the various sectors in society.
Further announcement on the details of Chair Chito’s memorial will be made with due consideration to the restrictions of the pandemic.
Chair Chito will be deeply missed. We ask for prayers for the eternal repose of his soul.