CHR commissioner says Gascon fights for the weak, vulnerable; ‘definitely not’ a pedophile

Commission on Human Rights executives came to the defense of CHR chairperson Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon after President Rodrigo Duterte asked him if he is a “pedophile.”

“This Gascon, he has been all about teenagers. You are like a pedophile, you son of bitch. Why do you like teenagers so much? Are you? I’m now having doubts. Are you gay or a pedophile?” said Duterte in a speech in Davao City on September 16.
CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana reacted to Duterte’s latest hit against Gascon.

“I know that Chito Gascon is not a pedophile, definitely not,” Gana said.

She said the Gascon’s focus on the string of killings involving teenage boys is simply him performing a part of his mandate as CHR head and his role as a human rights advocate and activist.

“He fights for the weak and vulnerable,” she said in a radio interview on DZBB.

She emphasized that the term “pedophile” cannot be used, even as a metaphor.

Asked if she had something to say to those who support the P1,000 budget for the CHR, Gana said in Filipino, “They should look at our mandate, what we are supposed to do and what we’re actually doing, and please understand it. And if sometimes they think we’re bearing down hard on government, it’s part of our mandate to also watch what government is doing.”
“Wala kaming agenda na ibagsak ang gobyerno,” she added.

She even pointed out how much they appreciate the Philippine National Police’s quick action in addressing the wrongdoing of the police in their ranks, such as what happened to the firing of the 1,000-man Caloocan police force after getting involved in several scandals, such as the deaths of students Kian delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, and Reynaldo de Guzman.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia also defended Gascon.

“These are remarks that do not show respect for the dignity of others. The public must understand that the death of children concerns us all as they are especially vulnerable and need state protection,” she said in a text message to Reuters.

Free Legal Assistance Group chairman Jose Manuel Diokno also responded to Duterte’s attack against Gascon.

“President Duterte should remember that when he points his finger at someone, he’s actually pointing four fingers at himself. His remarks are absurd, ridiculous and totally uncalled for. Chito is a good man,” Diokno said.

Gascon himself said that the President’s remark against him was “hurtful” and “unfortunate.”

“That the President again has resorted to name-calling and to using hurtful language against me is unfortunate,” Gascon told GMA News Online via text message.

“There may be differences between the positions we take in CHR and that taken by the Executive Branch, we hope this be viewed as part of the checks and balance system of Philippine Democracy,” Gascon said.

Gascon denied using the CHR for any partisan activity.

“My work and that of the rest of the Commission is focused only on our mandate to monitor state compliance of human rights,” he said.

Sources: ( , )

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