CHR Comm Chito Gascon. Image from Facebook / Miguel Gascon

CHR Chairman Chito Gascon. Image from Facebook / Miguel Gascon

MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon has passed away fighting a bout of COVID-19.

His brother Miguel posted about the death of the CHR chairman in a Facebook post on Saturday morning.

“Sa dami mong laban, sa COVID pa tayo na talo! Love you Kuya! (In all the battles you fought, we had to lose to COVID. I love you, brother!)” said Miguel.

Sa dami mong Laban, sa covid pa tayo na talo! 😪🙏Love you Kuya! RIP Chito Gascon

Posted by Miguel Gascon on Friday, October 8, 2021

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia also confirmed Gascon’s passing in a text message to

“Yes, he passed away,” she said.

Human rights advocate

A lawyer, Gascon was appointed as chairman of the CHR during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III in 2015, and whose term was supposed to expire on May 5, 2022.

Prior to that, he was a member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, a quasi-judicial body created in 2013 through Republic Act 10368 which seeks to process the reparation of victims of human rights abuses during the martial law under the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Gascon fought the Marcos dictatorship as a student leader and activist.

He also served as Board Member of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) from 2010–2011, then as a member of the Office of the President from 2011-2014.

When the late former President Corazon Aquino assumed power after Marcos government was toppled, she appointed the young Gascon to be a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, the youngest member to have served the body at that time.

During the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gascon served as undersecretary of the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) from 2002-2005. He later joined the so-called “Hyatt 10,” a group of Cabinet secretaries who resigned from their posts following the “Hello, Garci” election scandal that rocked the Arroyo government after the 2004 presidential elections.


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