CHR's Gascon: Justice will prevail
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the challenges hounding the Philippines, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Chito Gascon remains optimistic that justice and rule of law will prevail.
“Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales will prevail, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will prevail, and justice in this country will prevail,” he said on Thursday, November 29, during the 25th year anniversary event of the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG).
This comes in the period where several constitutional bodies under CFAG – such as the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the CHR, among others – are under the spotlight, particularly the SC, with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno facing an impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon. (READ: How Sereno answered her impeachment complaint)
CHR, meanwhile, has constantly been the target of tirades by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies as they continue to criticize his violent war on drugs. As of October 25, official data shows that around 3,967 suspected drug personalities have been killed during police operations. (READ: CHR’s Gascon to Duterte: Words matter)
At these challenging times, Gascon calls for unity to further the voice that the commissions are not part of a destabilization plot against the government – an accusation the administration and supporters have thrown in the past year.
“Hindi po tayo nasa larangan ng pamumulitika, hindi po tayo nasa larangan ng destabilization,” he said. “Tayo po ay nasa larangan ng rule of law, nasa larangan ng justice.”
(We are not in the field of politics, we are not part of destabilization. We are in the field of rule of law, in the field of justice.)
While Duterte has constantly reiterated his desire to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution – particularly to fulfill his campaign promise to shift to a federal form of government – Gascon, meanwhile, believes that democracy in the country can be strengthened if “we use our Constitution as our weapon and shield against abuses.”
“Ipakita sa ating partners sa gobyerno na handa tayo makipag-cooperate para siguraduhin na ang Saligang Batas ay matupad ng buo at lubos (Let’s show the government that we are ready to cooperate to ensure that the Constitution will be followed fully),” he said.
The Bill of Rights, which guaranteed due process to all Filipinos among other freedoms, is present under the existing Constitution. CHR has continuously called on the government to uphold human rights as it conducts the anti-illegal drugs campaign. (READ: Hate human rights? They protect freedoms you enjoy)
“Ang panawagan natin sa lahat ay gawin lamang ay sang-ayon sa batas at gawin lamang ang sang-ayon sa ating konstitusyon (We are calling for things to be done within the law and what’s constitutional),” Gascon said.
Democracy and the existence of these rights, however, are threatened as talks about the establishment of a revolutionary government float as Duterte flip-flops on the idea. (LOOK BACK: When did the Philippines have a revolutionary government?)
A revolutionary government, if declared, will bring large-scale change in the Philippines. All branches of government – even the judiciary, legislative, and existing check and balances mechanisms – will be axed. The Constitution, meanwhile, will be thrown out the window. (READ: Can Duterte declare a revolutionary gov’t? Here’s what you need to know) – Rappler.com