Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon

Filipino Community Organizer, Lawyer, and Activist

Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon is a Filipino community organizer, lawyer, and former chair of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights. A longstanding social justice activist in the Filipino community, Gascon began organizing against the Marcos dictatorship as a student leader before the 1986 nonviolent People Power Revolution. When the country transitioned to democracy under President Corazon Aquino, Gascon became the youngest member of both the body which drafted the country’s new constitution and of the reconstituted Congress. Gascon was also a big critic of the Duterte regime and the killings and other human rights violations resulting from the Duterte’s so-called “War on Drugs.” For more than three decades, Gascon has continued his advocacy while in several senior government positions, such as undersecretary at the Department of Education and the Office of the President. He was also a member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board that administered a program of recognition and reparations to victims of the Martial Law regime.

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