Senators were saddened by the passing of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon due to the novel coronavirus on Saturday, October 9.
“I am saddened to hear the news that COVID-19 has claimed another life in Chairman Chito Gascon of the Commission on Human Rights this morning,” Senator Richard Gordon said in a series of tweets.
The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights said he worked with Gascon “in pushing for human rights agenda in the Senate, finding our common ground to defend the basic rights of every Filipino.”
“I am pained to see so many deaths from COVID-19, and cannot condole personally with the families dealing with this painful ordeal,” said Gordon as he expressed condolences to Gascon’s family.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said she was also devastated to learn about Gascon’s death. “He was not just a fellow public servant, he was also my good friend,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“I remember him always saying when we would meet, ‘No pasaran!’ and ‘Hasta la victoria siempre!’. These are words of resistance and struggle that we should always live by to honor Chito’s memory,” she recalled.
The opposition senator further said: “Chito understood the valuable link between human dignity and democracy. His activism stretched more than 30 years and I have personally witnessed him fight the good fight: defending human rights, fighting for democracy, and working for government reforms that promote accountability and the rule of law.”
“We have lost a human rights champion,” she lamented.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel likewise relayed his condolences to the relatives of the late CHR chairperson, who was also a “dear friend” to him.
“Our condolences to the family of my dear friend, fellow Rotarian, CHR Chairman Chito Gascon. We mourn his passing and will miss interacting with him and getting his ideas. My friend Chito has done a lot for our country. We thank him for all he has done to improve our society,” Pimentel said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson also tweeted: “Goodbye and rest now Chairman Chito Gascon. Thank you for always expressing your appreciation when we were working together on the CHR budget. Our cooperation was totally apolitical, based only on your agency’s priorities and needs.”
Senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe also sympathized with Gascon’s passing on their respective social media pages.