Filipino human rights head who clashed with Duterte dies of COVID

The chairman of the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR), who often clashed with President Rodrigo Duterte over the lethal battle on medication, has died after contracting the COVID-19 virus.

In a social media submit on Saturday morning, Jose Luis Martin Gascon’s brother, Miguel, confirmed the information, writing in Tagalog, “Of all the battles you fought, we had to lose to COVID. Love you, big brother!”

The Philippine Daily Inquirer additionally quoted the Commission on Human Rights as saying that Gascon “passed away”.

“We have lost a human rights champion. He was not just a fellow public servant, he was also my good friend,” added Senator Risa Hontiveros.

A lawyer and a graduate of the University of Cambridge within the UK, he was the youngest member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the Philippines’ new structure in 1987 following the restoration of the nation’s democracy.

Gascon was appointed in 2015 by then-President Benigno Aquino as chairman of the CHR, an unbiased constitutional workplace, whose activity is to look into all human rights violations, in addition to abuses of civil and political rights.

After Aquino’s time period led to 2016, Gascon continued to serve his submit into the time period of the incumbent, Duterte. His time period, which was set to run out in May 2022, is protected by the structure.

Because of his function in investigating instances of human rights violations, he was often a goal of Duterte’s verbal assaults.

In 2017, when Gascon demanded an investigation into the collection of killings of largely male youngsters linked to the battle on medication, the president falsely accused him of being “gay” or a “paedophile”.

Gascon deflected the “name-calling” and the “hurtful language”, telling ABS-CBN News that he hopes the president “might choose to withdraw them in order to have a common civic space”.

He mentioned his function on the CHR is “part of the checks and balance system of Philippine democracy”.

In 2018, when Duterte defended his battle on medication by declaring in his annual state of the nation tackle that, “Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives”, Gascon retorted that respecting human rights and endorsing crime can by no means be equated.

He identified that human rights defenders are solely calling “to uphold the rule of law and constitutional guarantees” as the federal government conducts its anti-illegal medication marketing campaign, not impeding legislation enforcement.

Gascon supported the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into Duterte’s battle on medication that killed 1000’s of impoverished Filipinos, accused of utilizing unlawful medication. Independent investigators, journalists and witnesses have mentioned that lots of the victims had been unarmed, or had been harmless of the crime.

On Thursday, human rights legal professionals teams, activists and journalists mourned the dying of Gascon.

Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, mentioned he was “really shocked and sad” to study of the information.

“Another human being gone while the clowns and leeches are mocking and toying on our rights,” he wrote on social media.

Ted Te, a human rights lawyer and former Supreme Court spokesman, additionally wrote on social media, “You were a giant for human rights. The forest is barer because of your fall, but the seeds that you planted will yield fruit.”


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